Mum’s moving account of son’s autism given as charity plans move to base in Milton Keynes

From left: Louise Gregory,Jean Gowin BLP, Dr Philip Smith, Anna Saunders, Nicholas Mann BLP, Graham Wylie.
From left: Louise Gregory,Jean Gowin BLP, Dr Philip Smith, Anna Saunders, Nicholas Mann BLP, Graham Wylie.

A planned move to Milton Keynes by the Puzzle Centre charity, which supports young children with autism, has been welcomed by the city’s Business Leaders Partnership.

Anna Saunders, fundraising manager of the Puzzle Centre Trust and chair of trustees Graham Wylie were guest speakers at a MK Business Leaders breakfast briefing to talk about ambitious plans for a purpose-built nursery in the west of the city. It will also support parents and families of autistic children and be a centre of excellence for training autism professionals.

Anna and Graham were joined by Louise Gregory who gave a moving account of having a young son diagnosed. She said she knew nothing about autism until the toddler faced challenges with his development. Louise said: “He was not speaking, something wasn’t right, he wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t dress himself and then nothing functioned properly - as if someone had taken our son away in the night.”

After contacting the Puzzle Centre, Louise learned about courses on behaviour issues, sensory processing and light therapy, and how fabrics and touch can help your children.

She added: “Zachary is now four and waiting to go to nursery, is making friends and he can now say ‘my mum’. Puzzle Centre has just opened up our world.”

Puzzle Centre was founded in 2001 by Alex Stanyer, an internationally-known expert on autism.