A support group for families affected by autism are hoping to raise awareness of the help they can provide.
Families for Autism is a registered charity and non-profit organisation supporting autism in the community but, for those who attend the support group, it’s a whole lot more than that.
The group gives those suffering with autism the chance to spend time with others in a similar situation and gives their family members access to invaluable help and advice.
Rosemary French, a single grandparent and sole carer of her eight-year-old grandson, attends the group’s meetings regularly and was full of praise for the help she’s received.
She said, “My grandson was diagnosed at four years old. We joined the group when it was Autism Sussex but when that folded and Julie and Mark started up Families for Autism, my grandson started to attend the Saturday club every other week. It’s been absolutely invaluable to him. It’s given him the chance to play with other children with autism and it’s also given me a chance to have some respite.”
The charity was launched on August, 10 2010 and runs support groups every other Wednesday at St Elisabeth’s Church in Victoria Drive.
Family Liaison Officer Annette Ackland is keen to spread the word about the group so that more people affected by autism can make the most of the support available.
She added, “My role is to support the parents with any problems they may be having with their children, whether it be at school or the parents coming to terms with autism.
“The idea of the support group is to bring all the parents together so that they can chat and really for the parents that have got newly diagnosed children, this is very important because there’s always somebody in our group that has been through what they’re going through at that moment in time.
“We really need to get the word out there so that we can be supportive to more families touched by autism every day.”