Liam and his mum Caroline started coming to The Yard over 13 years ago. Our family sessions are a great way for both of them to socialise and relax.

"Going through Liam’s diagnosis wasn’t actually too stressful for me, as beforehand I read up on lots about autism, and Liam ticked all boxes. So getting him diagnosed meant he could get help and support, and it meant I was doing nothing wrong as a first time mum, which I sometimes thought. He got diagnosed at two and a half years old, which is the earliest you get a diagnosis.

"When I found The Yard, Liam was about seven years old. His school used to take him and said he loved it, so I started going with him. It has had a massive impact on both our lives; next to being at home, it’s the second place I see him so relaxed and happy. It is like his second home. Liam would have struggled over the years without it and so would I. I am very limited with where I can take him so it’s great we have this safe, fun haven to go to. There’s two words to describe The Yard and the impact it has had on both our lives, and that is 'life saver'.

"I am still learning every day about autism, 21 years on. It’s such a complex condition and no two autistic people are the same. When Liam was very young, he was a real loner, but over the years he has got more sociable. He is such a loving young man - if I get a bit of eye contact or a hug, it makes my day. Simple things like going for a walk without a wrist restraint, even for lengths of time not holding my hand, is amazing. We could never have done that a few years ago. He even abseiled at school; I was bursting with pride, though looking through my fingers haha!

"Liam amazes me every day, I couldn’t imagine life without him, he’s my world."