The project provides opportunities for people to access activities in their local community where they feel comfortable to explore their interests and build social connections.
ASD Family Help supports people with autism, learning disabilities and learning difficulties. Participants plan the programme of activities for this project alongside staff and a management committee.
The project aims to connect parents/carers and their children with each other and their community through peer-to-peer support and local activities.
A number of groups and activities have been set up such as a teen’s social group, a family friendly play session, drop-in support sessions and arts and crafts activities. The benefits of these activities and how they have been developed go far beyond having a welcoming space to learn, play and socialise. A committee which is made up of project participants and parents of young people involved in the project leads the decision making process about what the project offers.
For people with learning disabilities, feelings of isolation and lack of control over access to resources can be heightened due to social and systemic barriers. Participants have been able to network with like-minded people who have experienced similar barriers in society. The ability to identify their needs in the community and put services in place has helped people recognise their self-worth.
ASD Family Help brings the voices of people with lived experience of inequalities to the forefront to create an environment where individuals feel empowered to set up new activities and opportunities that match their needs and interests. The impact of this is that people who have previously faced barriers in society have control over implementing lasting change and tackling inequalities.
There is a welcome move towards hearing directly from autistic individuals and those with learning disabilities and learning difficulties and amplifying their voices. I think that’s very empowering for our participants that they’re very much the forefront of that and involved in owning what they want to do.