A 43-year-old woman from Swinton, near Rotherham, is looking to put her life on hold for 50 hours in order to raise awareness of autism, and the work that the national charity Caudwell Children does in supporting children with the condition.
Jayne Trueman, is so determined to bring the disability to the attention of the general public that she’s going to raise the profile of the condition by spending 50 hours locked inside a glass box located in the foyer of the Tesco Extra store, Biscay Way, Wath-Upon-Dearne, South Yorkshire, S63 7DA.
Jayne, who is a Customer Assistant in the Produce Department within the store, will enter the 3x2 metre structure at midday on Thursday March 9 and will not leave until 2pm on Saturday March 11.
Despite autism affecting such large numbers of children in South Yorkshire, Jayne claims that it often struggles to make the headlines. As she explained: “Autism is one of the country’s most prevalent disabilities with 133,500 children currently diagnosed with the condition in the UK.
“That’s a staggering number and yet many people, including myself, have little or no understanding of the disability.”
Jayne, who has a 21-year-old son and two daughters, aged 14 and seven, is hoping that her time in the box will give her a better appreciation of the condition. As she explained: “Although I don’t have a direct connection to autism I do appreciate that for some children it can be a challenging condition.
“People have told me that it can be a lonely place when your child is diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. I’m hoping that parents of children with the condition come into the store and tell me about their experiences.
“Only by talking to them will I begin to get a better understanding of the challenges that they face each and every day.”
It’s the work undertaken by Caudwell Children, says Jayne, that has inspired her to put herself in self-imposed solitary confinement. She said: “Caudwell Children provide practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families. Their Autistic Children’s Therapies programme (ACT); a series of therapies, education, dietary and nutritional interventions, can have a positive impact on the quality of life of children with the condition.
“I want parents to know that there is help and support out there from the charity. If my time being ‘Locked in for Autism’ highlights their work, and helps people to understand the needs of autistic children, then it will all be worthwhile.”
Jayne, who moved to South Yorkshire from Lincolnshire 17 years ago, says that she’s confident that she will complete the challenge even though she will be outside her comfort zone. As she explained: “Although I’ve done colour runs and the ‘Race for Life’ for charities before I’ve never done anything like this. So it will be really interesting to see how I react being in the full gaze of the public, with nowhere to hide, and being stared at by thousands of shoppers.
“We’re a 24hour store but that won’t affect me as I could sleep through an earthquake! I’m not anxious about anything really and I’m looking forward to the experience!”
Jayne believes that her work colleagues are planning some in store activities outside the box to keep her amused, and she’s determined to remain positive throughout the challenge. She said: “I’ll keep a smile on my face throughout the 50 hours and I’ll also be doing some colouring in to occupy my time.
“I’ll really miss my TV and in particular Emmerdale, which is one of my favourites. Natasha, my seven-year-old daughter will miss me a lot, but she’ll be coming in to see me in the box. My 14-year-old, Rebecca, is doing her Duke of Edinburgh at the moment and she’s going to come in to the store and do a collection to raise money for Caudwell Children.”
There will be no escaping her son, Joshua, throughout the challenge. “My son also works in the store,” explained Jayne. “So he will be able to tell my partner, Phillip all about what I’m getting up to and how I’m enjoying the challenge.”
Andy Bailey, from Caudwell Children, who created the ‘Locked in for Autism’ challenge, is delighted to have Jayne’s support. As he explained: “Jayne’s selfless 50 hour lock in will give me the opportunity to explain to shoppers how the charity supports children with autism.
“Whilst I appreciate that every child’s condition is different, many parents of autistic children have told me that the box is a perfect metaphor for the condition. Feeling conspicuous, being viewed from every angle with no place to hide, and struggling to communicate with those outside the box are things that many parents relate to.
“Jayne’s time in the box will really put the charity on the map in South Yorkshire and throughout the county.”
Jayne also hopes to raise funds for Caudwell Children whilst in the box. You can support her through her Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/jaynelockedin
You can also make a text donation by texting: LIFA82 £amount 70070