A MUM today spoke of her joy at seeing her three-year-old boy eat solid food for the first time.
Donna Warwick’s son Brandon Don has autism and lived on a diet of blended food.
But now the youngster, with the help of his special school, Columbia Grange, has been able to take his first bites of real food and is taking leaps and bounds in his development.
Donna, 30, from Fulwell, said: “It’s a big step. It means we can go out for a meal.
“The first thing he ate was some chips. He likes hot dogs as well and one of his favourites is toast with chocolate spread.”
Donna said that seeing her little boy eat whole food for the first time brought tears to her eyes.
Donna, who is also mum to Sophie, five, said: “I fill up when I see him eat. I’m so proud of him. You think it’s never going to happen, so to see him eat is just brilliant.”
Brandon, who will be four next month, attends Columbia Grange School in Washington which provides education for children with severe learning difficulties and autism.
Donna said that Columbia Grange has been a huge help in Brandon’s life and with his development.
The school is specially kitted out with therapy rooms, sensory rooms, as well as a parents’ room and outdoor facilities.
Donna said: “They have the autism outreach team who are great. They have things in place that need to be there and it works.
“Brandon really likes sensory things, it gets him really excited,” added Donna.
As well as his eating habits, Brandon’s speech has also greatly improved.
Donna said: “It’s still babble but it’s understandable. He’s got the sounds even if he can’t quite say the words. Before he was so non verbal. He’d been using picture exchange communication cards at school to communicate.
“He’s trying to say words now. It’s not 100 per cent but it’s a great start.”
Emma Puttock, Brandon’s teacher at Columbia Grange, said: “He’s settled well into his routine. We use a visual timetable for Brandon and he’s progressed so well throughout the year.
“We’re all so happy here for him. He’s learnt so many new words and he’s speaking far more than he used to as well. We’re excited for the future. It’s absolutely fantastic.”