A Sleaford woman has spoken of her thanks for ‘hero’ builders who have had a massive impact on the life of her autistic son.
Sarah Meadows, 64, lives on Newfield Road with her son Stevie Arch, 46.
Stevie was diagnosed with autism and learning difficulties at the age of 38, and has had to overcome a lack of awareness of the condition.
Sarah said: “Kids in the street were horrible to him, and some adults.
“I want to let people know that autism is not something to be frightened of.”
Newfield Road is the location for a £8.9 million regeneration scheme which will see 18 new homes built, as well as other works taking place.
Workmen from D. Brown Builders and Lawless Civil Engineering have been on Newfield Road for about 18 months, with the second phase of the project taking place opposite Sarah’s home.
Sarah said: “Stevie used to watch builders, and they would start shouting to him.”
The builders then invited Stevie onto the site, introduced themselves and showed him round.
The relationship between Stevie and the builders has grown massively - so much so that they even helped Stevie celebrate his birthday.
Thirty-five workmen from the site spent the afternoon with Stevie and presented him with gifts - including an Arsenal shirt with Stevie’s name on the back, and his own D. Brown Builders high visibility jacket, polo shirt and hard hat.
Sarah told The Standard that since meeting Stevie, the workmen have decided that ‘every site needs a Stevie’.
Of what difference builders have made to Stevie, Sarah said: “Stevie used to have the mentality of somebody between the ages of two and eight.
“He is now having conversations, and he can be so polite. His brain mentality now stays at a 17 or 18-year-old level.”
According to Sarah, Stevie, who the builders refer to as ‘boss’, can now retain interest in a conversation for more than five minutes, ask questions and show concern for others - things that he has always struggled to do.
A spokesman from D. Brown Builders said: “It is fantastic to see the positive effect that this has had on Stevie and we are all hoping with the continued interaction and friendship that exists that this will only get better still.”
Sarah said: “They have given him so much confidence.
“They are just so fantastic with him and are proud to call Stevie their friend.”
“I keep crying and my heart bursts with pride at knowing these special men.”
“They are heroes. I love them all, I can’t thank them enough.”