Brothers feel right at home this Christmas

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 26/12/2013
A MOTHER'S PLEA: Nigel, left, Malcolm, Alison and Laurie Adams, in the Burwood house where the two autistic brothers live.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

AN ANSWERED PLEA: Nigel, left, Malcolm, Alison and Laurie Adams, in the Burwood house where the two autistic brothers live.

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Two intellectually disabled Christchurch brothers got to open a very special Christmas present this year - their brand new home.

Malcolm Adams, 53, and Nigel, 52, are autistic and still believe in Santa Claus.

The pair need to be dressed, showered, fed, toileted and cared for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The brothers' Burwood home, that their parents spent their life savings buying to get their sons out of institutionalised care, was damaged in the earthquakes and had to be rebuilt.

Two weeks ago, Malcolm and Nigel moved into their new home, just in time for Christmas - their favourite time of the year.

Nigel, the introvert of the two, gets very excited about Christmas and "loses the plot a bit in anticipation", mother Alison Adams, 78, said.

He tries to stay awake on Christmas Eve to catch Santa and then puts off opening his presents because "once they are open, it's all over for another year".

Meanwhile, Malcolm tries to open everyone else's presents, she said.

Being able to carry out Christmas traditions in their own home, such as reading Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer before bed on Christmas Eve, has made the holiday all the more special for the brothers, Alison said.

On their first night home, the pair uncharacteristically slept through the entire night.

"They were very happy to be home," Alison said.

In April this year, the family faced discrimination and disappointment when they hunted for a rental house for the brothers to live in while their own home was rebuilt.

Their mum was forced to publicly plead for someone to take her sons in and her call for help was answered by scores of landlords across the country.

The brothers were told they were "going on a holiday" when they shifted into a rental house in Ferrymead with their live-in caregivers.

It took 20 weeks for their own house to be rebuilt and it is almost an exact replica to their previous home to ensure they remember it.

In mid-November, Nigel was suffering from homesickness and his mother and stepfather, Laurie Adams, took him back to the semi-completed Burwood house for a visit.

"He came in and walked straight through the house to where his old bedroom was and then turned around and came back out to the lounge and plonked himself down on the concrete floor where his chair used to sit," Laurie said.

Benchmark Homes and other contractors "went the extra mile" for Malcolm and Nigel, their parents said.

The builders worked through weekends to get the brothers home for Christmas and inserted a walk-in linen cupboard for their incontinence products free-of-charge.

"Life has always been a big struggle for us and there were many years there where I had no help at all, but these contractors and Benchmark have been absolutely amazing," Alison said.

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- The Press

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