Tommee Tippee cup appeal to save teen with severe autism from dehydration

Ben Carter, 14, has severe autism.
Ben Carter, 14, has severe autism. Photo: Twitter@GrumpyCarer

A British dad has turned to the Internet to help him find a special cup for his 14-year-old son.

Marc Carter's son has severe autism and will only drink from a blue Tommee Tippee cup that he has had since toddlerhood.

Carter, who is full-time carer to three children on the autistic spectrum, explained that when Ben first became attached to the cup he didn't realise what a nightmare it would become.

The discontinued Tommee Tippee cup.
The discontinued Tommee Tippee cup. Photo: Twitter@GrumpyCarer

"No big deal right? We can just get something else. At that age he should be drinking out of a glass!," he wrote in his appeal.

"You'd think eh. Ben hasn't drunk at school since the age of five, he doesn't drink outside of the house, so we can't go anywhere.

"People say he will drink when he's thirsty, but two emergency trips to [the hospital] with severe dehydration say otherwise."

The Carter family have already tried replacing various parts of the cup as they have become worn. First they changed the actual cup and then the lid a few weeks later.

"He was suspicious but we survived," wrote Carter.

But now the family are in dire straits. The cup needs to be replaced again, but Tommee Tippee have discontinued the line and the brand haven't been able to find a replacement in their archive.

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Carter fears that when the rubber lid breaks down Ben will really suffer.

Taking to Twitter, the desperate dad asked if anyone had the same cup. Within 48 hours his plea had been re-tweeted more than seventeen thousand times. He has also been inundated with suggestions from around the world.

Some parents found similar cups that they had saved when their own children grew out of them. But as Carter explains, it has to be an exact match. "To him it is as different as night and day," he replied.

Others have suggested using a 3D printer and a doctor at Trinity College Dublin even offered to let the family use the university's printer. But sadly, even with a 3D printer it will be impossible to create an exact copy of Ben's cup.

Happily, a few cups are now on their way, but as Carter explains, the appeal will be ongoing. "I've got some coming, as in enough to last us a few years. But the reality is that Ben is unlikely to change, so I will need these for the rest of his life.

"That's a lot of cups. It's got to be easier to collect them now than try in ten years."

Carter has been very moved by the response to his appeal and has since penned a thank you letter to everyone that offered help and support.

"Thank you to everyone for trying so hard to help my little man – it has genuinely moved me to tears – it is incredible that you all want to help," he wrote.

"I just sent out a few ickle tweets for my little man, no idea this stuff happened to boring people."

If you have a cup you would like to give Ben you can contact Marc Carter via Twitter @PMPProject.

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