Oxfordshire 10-year-old with autism a 'different child' after £3k donation of interactive projector

  • ITV News Meridian reporter Ciaran Fitzpatrick meets the family from Southmoor, Oxfordshire, who were gifted a £3,000 projector from a charity that has changed their autistic 10 year old's life

A mother from Oxfordshire said her autistic son’s life has dramatically changed since he was gifted a state of the art interactive projector by a charity.

Nikki Busby, from Southmoor, near Abingdon, was donated the projector which allows her 10 year old Jake to express his emotions and finally play with his 7 year old brother, Alex, for the first time.

Her son rarely used to leave the house after the coronavirus lockdowns and would often have regular meltdowns.

"He would hide away in the bedroom if anyone came to visit," said Nikki. "He wouldn't come down at all, he didn't want to interact with the family at all."

Nikki, and her two children Jake and Alex, can now all play together thanks to this donation. Credit: ITV Meridian

But last month (January 2024), Nikki was given an interactive projector by children's charity Variety.

She had spotted it online, seeing its potential of calming his sensory overloads and improving his speech and emotive skills. But she couldn't afford the £3,000 price tag.

After contacting several charities, she was handed a lifeline after Variety, which works on granting items and services to enhance children's communication skills.

She has seen such a difference since they got it, and can not thank the charity enough for what it has done to her family.

The boys' favourite game is Hopscotch. But the projector also has several learning exercises around emotions, dangers and topical news. Credit: ITV Meridian

The mother of two said "he's like a different child" and "can't wait to show off the projector to people."

"He's not isolating upstairs," said Nikki. "We're a family, we can now go out the house and when we come back home, if Jake has a bit of sensory overload we have something to help regulate him.

"The meltdowns are less. The speech is coming on. Alex and Jake can now actually be brothers and play together, which is so emotional."

Chloe Owen, from Variety, hopes Jake can now reach his full potential with this kit.

"I talk to so many families like Jake and Nikki," remarked Owen. "The feeling never lessens, it's just incredible to see what a difference it makes and this is why we do the work we do."