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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Autistic boy finds playmates
Jack Rumsey
Jack played with the boys on his swing
The mother of an autistic boy in Leicester has found two playmates for her son after advertising for friends for him.

Emma Upfold offered 5 an hour to anyone who would play with her son, four-year-old Jack Rumsey.

Jack cannot speak properly and often communicates by pointing to symbols.

Two boys from Leicester, James Crumbie and Wade Smith, answered the call - but did not want payment for their services.

Autism in the UK
115,000 families affected
Three times more common in boys
Sufferers can exhibit talents in specific areas, such as music

Ms Upfold said: "I never thought this would happen and it is just so kind of the boys.

"They all got along really well, playing with a remote control car and on the swing.

"Jack really enjoyed himself and was laughing the whole time."

James, 12, lives on the same street as Jack, in the Thurnby area, while Wade lives around the corner.

Ms Upfold posted an advertisement in a newsagent's window to find the playmates.

'Agony aunt'

It read: "Friend wanted for Jack. If you are bored with the holidays and would like to earn some extra pocket-money, please get in touch with Jack's mum.

"I will pay 5 an hour for a child between eight and 11 to come and play with him."

A photo of Jack was attached to the notice, which remained in the window for two weeks without reply.

However the situation changed this week when Ms Upfold's predicament received attention from the national media.

"I have been inundated with offers now, and the parents of other autistic children have been calling to speak with me.

"I think I have become bit of an agony aunt."


Click here to go to Leicester
See also:

20 Aug 02 | England
14 Aug 02 | Health
12 May 02 | Education
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