TO mark World Autism Awareness Month, one family whose son is on the spectrum have shared their story and explained why they are hosting a fundraising night to help others.

Seven-year-old Sonny Wilson from Rainhill has autism, ADHD, Tourettes syndrome, dyspraxia and other complex neurological developmental conditions.

When he was diagnosed, his parents Rachel and Chris Wilson found it difficult, with many of their friends distancing themselves from them.

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But now after finding a new group of friends and support they never knew they had, the pair have organised a fundraising night to give back to two charities that helped them along the way.

Proud mum Rachel, 32, said: "We have lost people that we considered to be friends as it is easier for them to walk away than truly understand our lives since the diagnosis.

"We have also made lots of friends that are in similar situations to ourselves and these people are lifelong and worth their weight in gold.

"We are in no way wanting sympathy but things can be hard, and we're not ashamed to admit that.

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"We have both suffered from mental health issues, especially since the diagnosis, no one sees the stress and anxiety for a young boy because he is petrified of doing something that seemed so simple yesterday, like walking on to the play ground at school.

"Many don't see the upset when he doesn't get invited to parties because he is different.

"Some try to give support by comparing our son to other children that they have met with these conditions 'that are much worse than him', that's not helpful either.

"So that's why we want to support other parents that are facing the uncertain times of diagnosis and to support them for the future."

The fundraising event at Sidac Function rooms will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 6pm and will raise funds for The National Autistic Society and St Helens based Friends, Play for disabled children charity.

More than 200 tickets have been sold.

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Rachel added: "Sidac Function rooms have kindly donated a smaller room also, it will be used as a sensory room, which we feel will really benefit some of our guests.

"We have sold over 200 tickets and it is a sold out event, which we feel is a tell tell sign that it's definitely needed in our community and the support has been overwhelming.

"Although the main focus of this night is to raise money, we also think it’s equally as important to raise awareness for all neurological development conditions, mental health and well-being.

"It can feel lonely at the beginning, but together we can support each other through the ASD journey."

Entertainment will be provided by The Cubans, and will include face painting, a sensory room, candy floss and popcorn machines and a raffle (prizes donated by local businesses).

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