SHARE (Support, Help, Advice, Respite, Encouragement) is an independent family support and guidance service incorporating a parent run support group facilitated by familyfocus lincolnshire. It is open to all families that have children or young adults (up to 25 years) with a diagnosis (or working towards a diagnosis of) Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
Families with a child who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will have special concerns and often need a great deal of information: information about the disability of their child, about school services, therapy, local policies, funding sources, transportation, medical facilities, and much more.
SHARE is able to offer families bespoke individual support within their own homes.
SHARE will also be holding regular parent led support groups primarily offering parents a place and a means to share information, give and receive emotional support, and work as a team to address common concerns. We hope to provide mutual support and new friendships, distribute information and/or newsletters, create a resource centre, arrange for speakers on topics of interest, and set up reciprocal babysitting. We would also like to give parents, the opportunity to speak in a unified voice to express all their needs and concerns.
Within the group, parents can also be open about their fears and concerns. There is a great benefit in learning that there are other families going through the same kinds of situations. By being part of SHARE families will have the opportunity to end the sense of isolation created by lack of information and support. By expressing their concerns and problems to other parents, families can get reactions and advice from others who may have experienced similar situations or needs. They can share the daily coping techniques that help keep families together, as well as tips that can make life run more smoothly. Parents can help each other to renew their spirit, determination, and enthusiasm for life. Being able to discuss concerns with others in the same situation can bring about realistic, pragmatic solutions and is often exactly the support families need.
Time for coffee?
“How many of us like to go out with friends for coffee? How many of us have children?
Well, imagine a friend calls invites you out for coffee, in public or just at home, you have a free day and no plans, its half term, the children are happily playing, well what’s to stop you? You make yourselves look presentable and off you go.
Now try this again with a child who has Autism, (ASD) (PDA) (SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER), this could be a whole different story, especially if you meeting in a public/ unfamiliar place.
The anxieties/stress levels for both the parent and child can reach an all-time high, just the thought of going out to a noisy unfamiliar environment with other people and children there that they don’t know can be very difficult from someone on the artistic spectrum so many different smells and sounds.
Well I have found a place that myself and daughter can go where we both feel at ease and relax with people, I can sit and have a coffee and chat while my daughter Sara (age 9 with a diagnosis of ASD and PDA with sensory issues) can go off and play with confidence. Yes it’s a support group that the children can come along to and play, they are supported by volunteers who are DBS registered and have an interest in working with children and adults with Autism or additional needs. You also have a chance to talk to other parents about your child and their needs/requirements and possible behaviours they may display.
This is our local familyfocus SHARE group, we meet once a month, we have guest speakers who come and talk with advice and support for all of us and other times we just talk with other parents who are having the same daily struggles at home and elsewhere, we exchange strategies that have worked for us or just have a general rant. (We all need one at times!)
During this time it gives all the children a chance to come together and enjoy time to be themselves without the worry that they are going to be watched and looked at differently, or questioned about each individual uniqueness. During my last meeting the children were talking with each other, spinning, crawling under chairs, hiding, and were seen to be stimming (self-stimulation to calm themselves and remain in control of their own anxieties) some children will mask this in public places so that they appear to be the same as their peers, have you ever tried to be someone else for the day? Imagine how tiring that is, a lot of our child do this every day.
They all have the same thought process and without possibly understanding how or why can play games together, they understand when they need the time out and work really well together. They just seem to click. They don’t have to adapt their behaviour or ways; they can just be who they are, together in a safe and friendly environment.
Watching your child go and play and join in with activities with others while you have some time to be just you and release some of you own stress and anxieties is something lots of people take for granted.
This is a time for our children to feel a part of the community and just be themselves without any worries, and time for us as parents to talk and exchange ideas and techniques to help and support each other.”
The above has been written by a Mum who comes along to our Moorland, Lincoln support group and as you can see it makes a massive difference, not just to her, but also to her child. We hear so much about support for parents in all kinds of situations but very little about support for all the family or indeed support for adults who may be autistic.
One parent told us recently she never feels judged when she comes along; she can be herself and say it how it is. This is brilliant; it tells us that we are achieving what we set out to do.
If you are interested in learning more about SHARE please send us a message through our contact us page.
Click here to see information about a new SHARE group in Sleaford,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or ring Hilary on 07930194175 for more information.
Next: Learning Opportunities