Charlie’s story set for wider audience

Charlie Devenport with his parents Amy and Dean
Charlie Devenport with his parents Amy and Dean

The parents of a five-year-old Whitby boy with autism say they are not finished yet with their quest to spread a message about families coping with the disorder.

Dean and Amy Devonport’s daily video blog about their son, Charlie, has attracted plenty of media attention in recent weeks, significantly raising the profile of their YouTube channel, Words for Words – A Year in the Life of Autism.

Almost 4,000 people are following Charlie’s story online, yet, the couple are determined to reach a wider audience.

Mr Devonport said: “We’re delighted with the exposure we’ve had and the support from local people has been great, but the challenge now is to hook a wider audience.

“We want to reach as many people as possible. A year-long daily blog about autism is something fairly unique and the beauty of it is that it is accessible to people regardless of where they are.

“We have subscribers in London and Canada already and we want Charlie’s story to be seen even further afield.”

Eleven weeks into the project, Mr Devonport has already noticed a significant change in Charlie’s behaviour.

“When I watch the films back I see the difference between how Charlie was a few moths ago and the way he is now,” he said.

“It’s noticeable how he interacts and approaches different things. He’s taking little steps in the right direction, which is encouraging to see.”

Mr Devonport also admits that the constant focus on Charlie’s limitations has begun to take its toll, but vows that it will not stop the couple from continuing with the blog.

He added: “The down side to this project is that by doing it you are constantly being reminded of the things that your own son can’t do, such as the fact that he’s unable to talk.

“It can get you down and it’s emotionally draining, but that won’t stop us because we know now from the feedback that we have been getting that by doing this that we are helping other people to cope.”

The Devonports first thought of the idea of making a blog about about their son during the summer holidays, a difficult period for Charlie as he struggles to adapt to the change in his usual routine.

They record between 10 and 15 snippets of Charlie’s day before editing the clips into a daily film.

“People can literally watch Charlie develop and grow over a full year,” continued Mr Devonport.

“In the videos we’ll discuss Charlie’s behaviour and how we deal with it. We wanted to create a resource for other families in the same situation as us.”