Inclusivity

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

In September 2014 a small group of parents became volunteers for the National Autistic Society(NAS) & formed The Dungannon Branch of the NAS,to which I am Chairperson for.
From this we set upon creating an Autism Specific Activity Club known as Whizz Kids Club. It soon became evident that this form of support to our young children was extremely popular & important.
The children who attend our Whizz Kids Club come from families experiencing social and economic disadvantage. These factors, in addition to their existing special needs, have resulted in delayed development, behavioural problems, low self-esteem and confidence. All of this combined with the difficulties that children with Autism experience when it comes to participating in typical social and leisure activities has resulted in unhealthy lifestyles and habits.

The Dungannon Branch of the National Autistic Society offers not only the child with Autism a secure environment where they won't be judged, but include the whole family as life with Autism affects the whole unit.
We offer a Sibling Inclusive Club once per month as they need support to.

We provide a fun few hours out away from all the chaos,free play & a support network for Carers during club time. We effectively plan a warm, friendly,non-judgemental environment that encourages play, exploration, sensory based activities,the opportunity to form friendships and most of all inclusion for all levels of abilities.

We don't view our children as being disabled, we encourage everyone to view them as differently abled.

Many children experience barriers to social and leisure provisions ,so at The Dungannon Branch of the National Autistic Society we address these factors and are proud to say we either reduce or eliminate effectively.

Our Whizz Kids Club is centered around the child with Autism & our activities are planned to effectively encourage participation,turn taking,creativity,communication & team building,all of which don't come easily to our children due to developmental delay & sensory processing disorder.There is no pressure put upon our children to conform to society,everything is offered with encouragement to explore freely.

Over this past year we have ran workshops which our children have benefited greatly from. These have included Music Therapy,Drumming Workshops,Arts & Crafts,Mindfulness & working in our allotment. All these are extra cost on top of our running costs & overheads.

Outside this we run weekly horse riding,trips,residentials & family inclusive events.

We are entirely reliant on fundraising events & the generosity of people within our community,as we are solely responsible for our own funding. We do our best to either fully pay or subsidise everything we provide for the families registered with us as most of our Carers are unpaid.

We also run a monthly support group,Connecting Carers ( Community ) & through this we provide advice & information,training,but most importantly a listening ear. Carers can feel so helpless,isolated & alot are suffering from exhaustion & depression.

Opening next month is our new club aimed at supporting our older children 'The Next Level'. This club will run monthly for 11-17yr olds with extra activities added as their confidence grows.

Whizz Kids Club is a vital service within our area. We have children as young as 3 yrs registered with us. The waiting list for an Autism Diagnosis is growing daily & so many families are struggling meantime. We don't need any child to have an official diagnosis in order to access our Whizz Kids Club. This is when families need the support most & early intervention is key to supporting the child, but we extend that support to the whole family as everyone needs to be looked after.

We dream big but don't have the bank account to match our vision. This is why we appreciate chances to avail of funding from bodies like this.

We are proud of our achievements.

Please support my nomination 🌈

The Dungannon Branch of the National Autistic Society.

Location: Dungannon

I am proud of everything & of everyone involved with The Dungannon Branch of the National Autistic Society. My son is my inspiration & motivation. We are now 10 years through our journey & although our socialising is restricted,I'm greatful for my time out at our club with others who 'just get it'.
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