Jake’s autism made him feel different to other children. He didn’t like sports and found it hard to make friends. He soon found that he had no one to talk to and became more and more isolated. Then the bullying started.
‘I hated it. I wanted to move schools. I just hated it.’
Things were difficult for Jake at home too. His mother left when he was young, and he was raised by his grandparents. But when his grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, Jake felt like he had nowhere else to turn. He tried to get in touch with his estranged mother, but quickly realised she couldn’t give him the support he needed:
‘My mum never asked questions. She never seemed that interested or asked me what life was like.’
Jake felt more alone than ever when he found out he had a sister. He couldn’t understand why his mother could look after her but not him. He became angry and would have bouts of rage where he’d cry and scream.
When he ran away from home, all hope seemed lost. But in the depths of despair, Jake reached out to Childline and found someone he could finally talk to.
‘I was at a stage with my autism where I couldn’t start a conversation. Their questions allowed me to get the stuff I needed to get out, out.’
Through Childline, Jake began speaking to other young people on the online message boards. Because of his experiences, he felt like he could relate to their struggles and could offer help and advice. It gave him a feeling of purpose and the connection that he craved.
‘I always advise people to call Childline now on the message boards. I didn’t really have anyone or anything before, but when I could reply to people, and I realised it wasn’t just me, it really helped.’
Jake is just one of the thousands of young people who have been supported by the NSPCC’s Childline. They help to give so many children a voice when they feel no one else is listening. And when you enter the Omaze Million Pound House Draw, Devon, you’ll be helping to provide vital support to this incredible charity. Plus, you’ll get the chance to win a coastal home worth over £3,000,000.