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National Carers Week: Harry's story

To mark National Carers Week this week, reporter Stephen Delahunty met a young carer from Maidenhead to look at some of the support available and the challenges he faces.

A young carer from Maidenhead has spoken of his desire to attend university at the same time as his older brother who has autistic spectrum disorder.

Harry, 12, from Maidenhead, lives with his mum Andrea and brother Jack, 13.

“It really affects his social skills,” said Harry.

Harry described how, because of his brother’s condition, he has had to become more independent and helps his mother out when he can.

“When my mum is really busy sometimes I’ll help out by going to the shops. I’ll take Jack with me, and help him cross the road. It’s those basic things that he’s not capable of doing that I can do,” he said.

“I guess he’ll have to learn because I can’t be with him forever but when I am I try and make sure he knows how to do it.

“I just want to help him to the best of his abilities.”

Jack has a love of physics. Harry said: “I think this helps him to understand how the world works, but at the same time I don’t think he knows how the world works.

“But my brother is actually really clever. He can help me with my homework which is a good thing.”

Harry prefers maths and football.

“But Jack has really got into football lately so we’ve been getting out and playing together in the garden which I think has been helping him.”

In 2013, Harry began getting support from Eunice de Silva, a project support worker at Family Action, a charity that supports young carers.

Eunice said: “We started doing short courses and giving him respite breaks. We’ve been on a few trips and do after-school activities.

“We are currently working with 50 young people in the area.”

Harry added: “The biggest difference is my confidence.

“A few years ago I was really shy. It has helped not just with socialising but helped me communicate with my brother more easily.

“Autistic people don’t really recognise facial expressions so I have to use my social skills to talk to him in a way that he can understand.”

Harry hopes to go to university with his brother.

“I’d really like us to go to university together so we can be there to help each other,” he said.

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