A COUPLE from Ilminster have helped out a charity which transformed their son’s life.

Jen and Ian Wilson, of Adams Meadow, decided to give something back to Stocklinch-based charity Horseshoes and Handprints after staff cared for their six-year-old son Ollie.

He was diagnosed with autism and significant sensory processing dysfunction two years ago, which means he struggles to communicate and can easily become anxious and upset.

Mum Jen said: “Ollie did not smile or express an appropriate emotional response in many situations and it was quite by accident that I came across Horseshoes and Handprints at a stand where they were displaying at a fair last year.

“He has attended seven sessions at this fantastic place and now goes on a fortnightly basis.

“After two sessions, we had the privilege to witness Ollie’s first real smile.

“We noticed improvements in his sleeping patterns because he would previously wake up in the night rocking violently in his bed, and now he is much calmer and in a less anxious state of mind, which helps.”

Jen said her son now speaks almost fluently, enabling him to become more social at school and absorb information.

Horseshoes and Handprints provides horse-centred therapy for individuals with special needs.

Staff believe close contact and interaction with horses helps youngsters.

Activities include touching, stroking, grooming and handling the horses, decorating and painting them, leading and working the horses in hand and riding them.

Jen and Ian noticed the charity needed help fixing the roof area and tack room where equipment is kept for the horses.

The pair, who run Wilsonatorgator Windows in Ilminster, decided to carry out the work free of charge, including labour costs, as a thank you to the charity.

Charity trustee Desi Fradgley said it was ‘incredibly grateful’ for the family’s work.

She said: “It is crucial that we have somewhere safe and dry to keep the tack. It is so difficult to raise funds for these sorts of things.”