Uttoxeter Autism Spectrum Pyramid is a local group set up by parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), whose aim is to address the isolation for both children and their parents, and to help develop the children’s social skills.
It is also aims to help reduce the barriers between home and school with future workshops for parents and professionals in the area.
The started out with self-funded activities during the school holidays, such as taking a train trip to Tutbury or having a picnic in the park. This helped the older children as part of their independent travel training, but also appealed to the younger children as an adventure.
Other activities included bowling, going to the cinema and pottery painting.
It has been amazing how the young people all get on with each other, especially as there have been 18-year-olds mixing with 8-year-olds. Now that we have a Stay & Play venue, the age gap can be even greater, but it still works.
The group is very grateful for the generosity of local charities which have enable us to grow enough to actually require bigger premises.
We appreciate the help of people who have come forward to volunteer to help support the children, enabling parents to relax a little and find mutual support. The organisations that have helped us so far with grants and support include:
Just recently, we also received a fantastic grant from the Heath Big Local's Community Chest for £500 to help fund our activities in the town.
Membership of our group is open to all families with a child with autism who live within the catchment area of Thomas Alleyne's High School, regardless of whether or not they attend one of the school in the area. Our aim is to help support all of the family - parents, children, siblings and even grandparents.
We listen the the young people who attend our group. When asked for their views, the general view is they are happy with what we are offering. We have received comments such as:
"It's a chance to burn off energy."
"There's more room to run about."
"I'm not on the XBox at home, so playing instead."
The adults have commented too on how their children are interacting more, they are relaxed in the company of other children, and they don't feel bullied or intimidated. It has also helped one young man feel better about going into school.
Parents are also finding support amongst themselves, and have found mutual support, advice and fresh ideas in dealing with both their children with an ASD and siblings. They are more relaxed and are more able to enjoy time with their children, instead of feeling judged.
The Uttoxeter Autism Spectrum Pyramid Group meets on the third Saturday of the month at Wilfred House on Carter Street, Uttoxeter. If you feel you'd like to come along you'll receive a very warm welcome.