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Plea to help Sussex girl with autism
The family of a little girl with severe autism have launched an appeal to send her abroad for vital treatment.
Angie Ratcliffe, eight, has a place reserved at a week-long intensive course in the US that could help radically improve her communication with others.
Her parents Nigel, 62, and Babs, 45, from Stone Close, Worthing, came across a revolutionary therapy programme called Son-Rise two years ago.
They had been told by doctors that Angie would be unlikely to speak but since trying the programme, the youngster has said her first words.
She also makes eye contact with people 90% of the time.
Her parents now want to build on that success and send her on the residential course at the Autism Treatment Center of America near Boston.
I was quite sceptical about it all but my wife said it was worth trying and the results have been very impressiveNigel Ratcliffe
Experts at the centre will give the family a DVD of them working with Angie to take back with them and get advice on how to help the youngster progress further.
The trip is expected to cost more than £7,000 but the family are also hoping to continue fundraising for further treatments and to help others in Angie’s position in the future.
Angie, who goes to Palatine Primary School in Palatine Road, Worthing, was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old.
Communication has always been difficult for her and at times this left her frustrated and forced her to cry to let her parents know she needed help for something.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “I was quite sceptical about it all but my wife said it was worth trying and the results have been very impressive.
“She has been making great progress and we really want to build on that.”
Anonymous American sponsors have pledged to pay for some of the treatment at the course in October, which costs about £12,000 ($18,000), but the family still need to find the rest themselves.
Singers, songwriters and composers are donating their songs free in conjunction with recording studio White Room Music to make a fundraising album called Miracles.
An associated Miracles Concert at The Windmill theatre, Littlehampton, on Saturday, will help boost funds.
A second CD is also in production and due to be released later this year.
For more details, visit www.angiesmiracles.co.uk.
Can you help? Can you help Angie’s family? If so call Siobhan Ryan on 01273 544543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org