As you may remember, our group won £5,000 funding from OneFamily as part of its Community Awards in September 2017. Thanks again to everyone who voted, this money has been put to really good use and has benefited so many of our parent and carers already! Now that the last of the funding has been issued we thought that it would be a good time to update you on where it has all been spent.
Our Parent/Carer Workshops began in October 2017 and we have already had sessions covering anxiety, sensory issues, toileting, self-injurous behaviours, sleep, food issues, meltdowns, Intensive Interaction and communication with both verbal and non-verbal children. These workshops were all well attended and the feedback has been amazing. Lots of advice was received and strategies were suggested to help our families. More workshops have been organised for July 2018 and we hope that these are as successful as the others.
In November 2017 and May 2018 we held two ‘Introduction to autism’ training sessions for businesses and individuals who were interested in gaining a basic understanding of autism. Again, the feedback from these sessions were fantastic and individuals felt they had a better awareness of autism afterwards. These sessions gave a brief introduction to autism and went on to discuss many of the issues faced by individuals on the spectrum. We are hoping to run some additional ‘Introduction to autism’ sessions later this year. If you would like to book yourself a place on this free course, please contact Bettina Evans on facebook or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. This training is open to everyone. Many thanks to Tammy Thompson, Millom Rugby League and St James School for letting us use their facilities for our training and all the help they have given to our group.
Also in November 2017 our 1:1 Parent/Carer sessions began. These are 1 hour sessions with Jemma Swales, an Autism Practitioner who discusses the family’s needs and helps parent/carers find strategies to reduce challenging behaviours. Many thanks also go to Jemma for the excellent advice, support and training she has given to many of our families over the last few years.
Just before Christmas we received the weighted items that we had ordered for our Sensory Library. Our Sensory Library has been up and running for a while now, allowing us to loan expensive sensory items to families so that they are able to trial products before they buy. These items include weighted blankets, body socks, lap pads etc which help to calm and ground many autistic individuals.
This month we used the last of our funding to purchase Picture Exchange Communication System (PECs) training manuals and equipment so that we are able to support families who would like to try this method of communication at home. We are also going to be able to provide parents/carers with visual schedules that they can use at home to support communication and independence.
Thanks again for all your support. If you would like to donate and help us support families in the area, please contact Jane McFie on facebook or e-mail email@example.com. Thank you!