Captain Chris Jardine and Lady Captain Wendy Marshall recently visited Disability Challengers to see some of the great work they do. Wendy reports below on one of the families the charity has helped – and it’s obvious that the help has been extremely important. The support of Windlesham’s members will help Disability Challengers to help more families like this, so thanks to all who have supported and continue to support our fundraising activities.


Wendy says:

” Victoria has two children, Alex who is 10 and suffers from a high level of autism and Josh who is 5 and has ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).



Victoria is an amazing lady – she is married and her husband helps with the boys, but it is a very stressful environment. Out of 27 couples who she has met through support groups, only three are still married.

Alex, the eldest, is an extremely bright child. When he was starting school the teacher gave him a book of pictures to look at. He threw the book back at her. He had already taught himself to read at the age of 3.

Younger brother Josh’s ADHA is characterized primarily by “the co-existence of attentional problems and hyperactivity– to say the least he is a lively boy, but it is much more than that. Also the condition is two to four times more likely in boys rather than girls. He can do silly things like trying to leap from high up on one side of the room to the other, head first, without any understanding of the potential harm.

At night both boys go to bed and sleep, but they often sleep upright and both frequently sleep walk and have recently fallen down the stairs. As a result Victoria and her husband have to take turns to sleep. Victoria til about 6am and her husband from 6 til about midday.

Alex needs reminding to eat – he does not recognise hunger but says his stomach hurts. He does not feel that he needs the toilet – but does occasionally ask when was the last time he went.

Victoria has been fighting to get Alex into a special school. At the normal mainstream school, due to his condition, he spent 5 years in the corridor with a teaching assistant and was given a minimum of one hour per day teaching (5 hours per week). The way the system works means that if he had been expelled for bad behaviour, he would have been given 20 hours per week! However he was provided with his own ‘room’ which was a cupboard under the stairs, but with a window in it.

Victoria managed to speak on a local radio station about the problems her children were experiencing, which helped to convince the local authorities that she had a case. Alex was then given a place at a school for special needs, and has thrived there. He is starting his Maths GCSE this year and English next year. She considers her family to be extremely fortunate in where they live. Even though it has taken a big fight, the close location of a special needs school and Disability Challengers have been wonderful.

Disability Challengers, with its system of one to one and even one to two carers, provides both these boys with something which most children take for granted – the right environment to enjoy themselves and have fun. ”


Chris & Wendy with Victoria & Josh

The photo shows Chris and Wendy with Victoria and her younger son Josh, who has ADHD. Alex, her older son with autism does not like having his picture taken – the flash frightens him, so he is hiding at the back of the room.