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October 7th 2006

Some Great News from Support Group in Dorset

We were sent an email from Lisa from the support group in Poole in Dorset - AS~U~R in Poole

They have had a really exciting few months when they have organised and run a holiday club and been involved in many other things down that way raising awareness and promoting good practice for those with ADHD and ASD.

So this is what Lisa had to say to us in her email about how things are going down there.

Dear Caroline,

AS~U~R in Poole, applied some time ago for our group to be considered by Treehouse as a potential Parent Support Partner in an initiative that is being funded by the DfES. The brief for Treehouse was to select 10 Parent Support Groups to work in partnership with. Treehouse were inundated with applications from parent groups throughout the UK.

The project is being funded for three years and the hope is to transform autism services both where we live and nationwide.

Poole AS~U~R Support Group have been chosen as one of the 10 partner groups. This is very exciting news, this means we now have the support for constructive campaigning for provision to meet the needs of children with autism and the needs of their families and carers.

The Holiday Club we have been running has been an overwhelming success. We had secured the venue just a week before the summer holidays started, but despite this the club has run pretty much without fault. We have had on average 20 children per session and the children have all had fun with arts and crafts, puzzles and toys, and sports activities (non competitive) We have had volunteer sports coaches from millennium volunteers and every week they have commented on how well behaved our children have been. Except last wednesday, which unknown to us was a full moon!!

Its proven to have been godsend to many parents, often wanting their children to access leisure activities but have not been able to in the past, either because the activities on offer were not suitable, or because of their difficulties the children were excluded or bullied. We handed out questionaires to parents on what they think of the club and the results back have been very positive indeed. Parents are enjoying having a cup of tea and a chat with other parents who face similar difficulties, again, something that these parents may not have been able to do in the past. Parents are commenting that, its nice to feel relaxed knowing their child is not going to be judged, and there is no strange looks or whispering from other people who do not understand.

Some very firm friendship's are being formed, both children and parents, it really is wonderful to see. We have had some wonderful success stories, one lad who has never eaten in front of anyone, felt comfortable enough to share his drink and biscuit with his new friend's. We have also proved reverse inclusion works, as we have had many siblings of children with ADHD and ASD, and friends too, the children all have been very relaxed and happy.

We are going to push for a permanent venue for future holidays, hopefully funded by the local authority.

Lots of things have been happening in the past few months, setting up our website, joining and supporting the NAS's make school make sense campaign, and joining an Autism focus group. We have already met with local professionals to help improve services for our kids in health, education and social services. We intend to set up different working groups within AS~U~R so we can all utilise our skills in different areas. one will be leisure, one will be the constructive campaigning with Treehouse, and one will concentrate on local issues, meeting the local professionals.

This really is some fantastic news from Lisa and AS~U~R in Poole and all those who are involved with the group and we at wish them loads of luck with coming months and hope that their involvement in the Treehouse Project is a huge success. Also following the success of the holiday club we hope that this will be something that you are able to organise again in future and hope that funding and help will be forthcoming from various places down there as it is such a worthwhile project. Maybe if any other groups would like some tips or ideas on how to organise a holiday club they can get in touch with AS~U~R in Poole as I am certain that they would be happy to offer any support and advice if they can.

You can find out more about what AS~U~R in Poole are up to visit their website at AS~U~R in Poole



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