The Wearside boy who can’t eat

Rachael Kelly with her 4 year old son Callum Kelly who has a rare condition which means he can not eat food.
Rachael Kelly with her 4 year old son Callum Kelly who has a rare condition which means he can not eat food.
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LITTLE Callum Kelly will not get the chance to enjoy his Christmas dinner after he was struck by a condition leaving him unable to eat.

While his pals tuck into their turkey and stuffing, four-year-old Callum will be fed a nutrient-packed liquid through a tube into his stomach.

Callum, from Oxclose, Washington, has been diagnosed with a form of autism which means he cannot tolerate solids or liquids.

Treats like chips, chocolate and ice cream are ruled out for the Sunningdale School pupil.

“We knew something was wrong,” said Callum’s mum, 26-year-old Rachael. “He was crying all the time, all day every day. He was in a lot of discomfort.

“The doctors carried out a full assessment and he was diagnosed with the condition.”

Callum, who is severely autistic, also suffers from speech problems, global delay and sensory processing disorder.

Rachael, who provides round-the-clock care for her son, said: “Tests have shown that there is no medical reason why he can’t eat, so we think it might be connected with his autism.

“We don’t know if it’s smell or texture of the food, but he just can’t accept it.”

“We don’t know how he will develop, if he’ll get any better as he gets older.”

Dad John, 30, said Callum has coped well with his treatment, enduring several operations, and is hopeful his condition will improve. “It’s hard to see him sometimes, ” said John. “We just don’t know if his condition will ever improve any. We hope one day he will be able to eat, but it is difficult for him.

“But he’s being given a lot of support. He’s doing really well.”

And despite his health problems, Callum is enjoying school life and has been quick to pick up sign language.

“In many ways he is unique,” said John, who works in sales. “His consultant has never seen the number of conditions that he has in one child.

“Often it’s difficult to tell how he is because he finds it hard to express emotions.

“He has been through so much and has had several operations.

“But he puts up with it and he’s generally happy.

“The help and support the school has given us has been amazing.

“They have been marvellous and we couldn’t have got by without them.

“He is doing really well there and we’re planning to hold a series of fundraising events to support the school.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho