Mum Jacqui shared the story of her son Matthew and spoke about his experience attending Challengers

Matthew has a rare genetic condition – a micro deletion of his Chromosome 3 – resulting in a brain disorder, autism, severe learning difficulties, as well as being non-verbal, doubly incontinent and having low muscle tone. He is 17 years old, has a sunny personality and loves socialising, nursery rhymes, books, and Toy Story.   

Matthew at Challengers

We first started attending Challengers when Matthew was in primary school, and he now attends Basingstoke Youth. Matthew enjoys everything about Challengers and is always excited and happy to attend, running to greet the staff on arrival. He enjoys the activities and socialising with everyone. Challengers has given Matthew some independence away from his family, and the ability to make friends and enjoy a wide variety of activities he wouldn’t usually get to do. A huge benefit of attending is the access he gets to a community. He enjoys being with his friends and has grown in confidence since attending. We’ve also noticed that he has become more physically active and is willing to try new things, including different food which he is very reluctant to do at home!  

Matthew interacting with Challengers staff

When Matthew goes to Challengers, we get to spend time with his siblings and to have some much-needed time off from caring for him, safe in the knowledge that he’s having fun, and his needs are being met. The leaders and staff are so professional, caring and thoughtful, which enables us as parents of a vulnerable, non-verbal young person to have peace of mind that he is having a great time and being well cared for at Challengers.  

Matthew turns 18 in October so will be transitioning from Challengers. Both him and us will be terribly sad to be without Challengers as it has been a big part of our lives for many years.