A RUSSELLS Hall mum is appealing for residents’ help in her bid to collect old mobile phones to help her autistic young son.

Two-year-old Thomas Haynes was diagnosed with autism in August, after a long assessment process involving daily hospital appointments for a month.

The toddler, who cannot talk, also struggles to sit and look at a book, but will happily sit in front of a computer or a television, mesmerised with the bright lights and colours.

In a bid to help develop his receptive and expressive language, his family have joined an old phone recycling challenge being run by autistic charity, Hearts and Minds, to collect 185 discarded mobiles, which the organization will swap for an Ipad, as well as raising money for its ongoing work.

Mum, Sharon, said: “If you gave Thomas a book, he would trash it or whack you with it, but sit him in front of a computer or give him his dad’s Iphone and he would be there forever.

“Thomas has also been attending the nursery at Queen Victoria Primary School for 12 hours a week and staff there have been using an Ipad with him to help with his learning and we have noticed such an improvement .

“We would love to get one for use at home for Christmas which we could download specific games and applications for autism for him to use.”

Sharon, along with her husband Adam and eldest children, 17-year-old twins Jessica and Daniel, have been busy collecting unwanted old phones for the last two months and have so far got together 100, but having run out of family and friends to beg from, the family now need help to get to their target.

Unwanted mobiles can be dropped off at Queen Victoria Primary School in Bilston Street, Sedgley and Woodside Children’s Centre in Highgate Road which both have collection points. Alternatively email Sharon on sharon_gough@hotmail.co.uk

Sharon added: “We would love to hear from anyone who can help. Phones don’t have to work, but they do need to have a battery.

“We are happy to travel and collect the phones and will do whatever it takes to get to our target.”