IT is a moment every parent dreams of – their child’s first words. But for Beth and Nick Fletcher, this time may never come.
As their son Charlie nears his third birthday, the Church Gresley couple have launched a desperate bid to raise money for a trip to America that could provide the key to them hearing him speak for the first time.
Mrs Fletcher said: “He was born in 2010 and was developing fine but at 18 months he had not started to speak and was not interacting with others in the right way.
“Months of speaking to doctors and trying to get help eventually saw us being told that he had autism and we are now waiting to hear just how severe it is.”
After suffering several setbacks in a bid to get help in the UK, the couple decided to search far and wide and learned of a potential solution in America.
The 29-year-old added: “We found the Autism Treatment Centre of America and it fits perfectly.
“It will cater for Charlie’s needs and will see me head to the States initially for training before heading back to see if what I have been taught can help Charlie.
“If this is the case, we will then take him out to America for more intensive treatment.”
Beth’s trip to the US will cost around £2,000 and she hopes to get the cash by fund-raising.
She said she also wanted to speak about Charlie’s struggles to help other parents going through a similar situation.
She added: “As much as we are trying to gather support, I really want to help others going through what we are going through.
“It has been so depressing at times as we have been fighting to get some help but kept getting nowhere. My husband would come home to find me crying on the floor because I wasn’t getting anywhere.
“The programme in America is light at the end of the tunnel for us. It has given us a little bit of hope that we will one day hear Charlie speak and say the words ‘mum and dad’.”
More information is available by visiting www.charliesvoice.co.uk