Northern Ireland mum pushing the envelope to ensure little Nathan has Christmas to remember
Mum's appeal for people to send card-loving autistic son festive greetings goes global
A card may be the simplest of things - but that's all it will take to make this little boy smile this Christmas.
Nathan Scott from Cookstown has autism and the 11-year-old just loves cards.
His mum Daphney said that while Nathan's speech is limited, his understanding of the world is supported through pictures, social stories and the Makaton language programme.
He loves cards so much that any the family receive stay up for a long time - and Nathan examines them all to make sure they haven't gone anywhere.
Daphney (45) said: "Autism doesn't define our boy and he is, to us, the most amazing child.
"His communication is based on pictures. So his love of pictures has increased over the past couple of years to the extent that now even a magazine or a brochure in a travel agents is what he gets so much enjoyment out of.
"The simplest of wee things - birthday cards that went up last year come down at Christmas and the new Christmas cards go up."
This year, in a bid to make Christmas extra special, Daphney put a post on Facebook asking friends to send him cards.
But when she made the post public to see what would happen, she could never have predicted the outcome.
Just 48 hours later more than 2,000 people had engaged with the post, and cards are being signed, sealed and sent for delivery for Nathan from as far away as Australia.
Some people are even making their own cards for him. Yesterday morning the Scott family received their first bundle of cards in the post.
"It's something so simple," Daphney pointed out.
"Cards are getting fewer as people decide not to send them and to give to charity. But this year I thought I'd put it out there and see.
"Nathan doesn't understand the whole concept of Christmas.
"He doesn't get the whole waiting for Santa Claus and going to bed on Christmas Eve and waking up to toys.
"He does get gifts, but they are phased in, so he's not overloaded." Thanks to the outpouring of kindness from friends and hundreds of strangers following her social media post, Daphney has been left gobsmacked.
She said: "We are a family in Co Tyrone, you don't expect this to go worldwide.
"Forty-eight hours later and my child has travelled the length and breadth of the universe. If there was someone in space, they would send one to him too.
"It is crazy, and people are so kind."
Now the family have to find somewhere in their two-bedroom bungalow to display all the cards they are receiving.
"We have thought about using one of our living room walls and putting plyboard against it.
"We are going to have to make him a 'wall of fame' or something," she said.
Daphney explained they will give him one or two at a time and will read every card out loud to him before they display it.
She said: "There is so much negativity in the world, so something so simple, a gesture of as much as sending a Christmas card - it's going to mean so much to Nathan and to us as a family to know there are people out there that do actually care.
"It's the true meaning of Christmas - it's just so lovely."
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