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Carers Week: Khadija’s Story

Khadija* is a single parent who lives in Newham with her son Yacin, who has autism, ADHD and bipolar disorder. For most of his life she has had to give him special care – and she’s thankful for the help and support she gets from Carers First.  

“I noticed a change in Yacin when he was just two and a half years old and his behaviour deteriorated,” said Khadija. “He started taking medication for autism at the age of eight, but it didn’t seem to help much and he was excluded from his primary school because of his behaviour.

“In year 5 I had him admitted to a special unit but by year 6 he was still getting worse, even though he was on medication. Finally he was admitted to Newham General Hospital under section two of the Mental Health Act and he spent six weeks in hospital.

“Then he went to a special needs college but they couldn’t help him; he’d hit me and the school would keep complaining about him. He got on well at another school for children with autism, but then they excluded him too. Now he’s 20 years old and since July 2021 he’s been in a hospital for people with learning disability, autism spectrum disorder and personality disorders in Essex.” 

It goes without saying that bringing up Yacin on her own has been a big challenge for Khjadija – especially now that she has to travel from east London to Essex, an hour’s drive away. 

“Since I’ve been caring for my son I’ve worried about him a lot, and as his main carer I spend a lot of time with him. Most of the time I’m the one who has to put up with everything – sometimes he’s aggressive towards me. And I spend a lot of time feeling sorry for him and trying to find the right medication for him. At the end of the day it’s not his fault that he’s the way he is.” 

When Khadija made contact with Carers First she benefitted straight away from the advice and support that the charity provides.  

“Their advice has been really important to me – they listen to all my worries and help me to support my son,” she said. “My adviser, Noreen, referred me for financial help, she found me some funds for a sofa bed, and she helped me to sort out a care package for Yacin when he comes out of hospital.” 

She added: “I would recommend Carers First because they listen to you and they try their best to help you. Noreen listens to me and helps me, and whenever I need her I email or call her.” 

* Khadija’s name has been changed for reasons of privacy. 

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