Kim Mooney’s story

Kim Mooney has kindly put together some words about her time at Lothian Autistic Society

Last year, by chance we saw your post advertising the Bathgate Basecamp2 programme. At that time Jake didn’t have any activities outside of school and his social skills were lacking. I encouraged him onto this place and within a couple of weeks he was so looking forward to Tuesdays. He made a “best buddy” there and the 2 boys now regularly FaceTime, play online and we have also organised a few meet ups. At the final presentation of basecamp the boys did their own stand up comedy routine with jokes they had researched. We can’t wait for the Basecamp 2 project to start again at the end of April. Myself and another mum fought really hard to get interest in this when it was feared it might not run again until September. 

The boys came to the last karting holiday event and had a great time. 

Since then Jake has also started going to an autism football session and started a music after school programme too. If it wasn’t for Basecamp2 and the staff, I suspect his confidence still wouldn’t be there.

Thanks for everything that you do and good luck.

jake mooney.jpg  Jake at the Family Activity Day 

World Autism Awareness Week

 

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day taking place on 2 April every year. In the week of 1 – 7 April surrounding this day, we encourage the everyone to take part in World Autism Awareness Week – a full seven days where people across the UK take part in activities to raise money and awareness of Autism. All this week we will be featuring stories from a variety of different people who are involved with Lothian Autistic Society, from, children and young people, to staff, volunteers and parents

Bernadette’s Story

Bernadette, a parent of two children with autism who both attend our services has taken the time to tell us about her experiences.

I knew very little about Autism when my son was diagnosed and it’s been a real learning curve since! When my daughter was also diagnosed last year, there were a whole new set of challenges! We’ve been really fortunate to have had a great Occupational therapist who offered some fantastic tools and general support. Along with the range of courses, information sessions and local organisations, we have built a good support network!

The challenges do become greater as Thomas and Julia get older. Thomas is heading towards high school and there are struggles with the increase in demands of school work and socialising with classmates. Thomas can tire easily so a day at school often exhausts him, this means after school activities have to be kept to a minimum. Julia can struggle with focusing on tasks and concentrating but often needs to expend energy after school; the garden trampoline is used a lot!! 

However both work so hard at school; Julia loves maths and Thomas loves reading and art. Both also love the water, Thomas joined the Wave project last September and surprised us by enjoying the sea and standing up quickly on his board!  

Julia absolutely loves basecamp with all the different activities and Thomas loves Saturday club.

They never fail to surprise me with their enthusiasm and their determination to try new things whether that be surfing, water slides or bike riding. I’m sure they’ll continue to surprise me going forward! 

Julia Veal

Amy’s Story

Amy is a volunteer at our Basecamp 2 Programme and has very kindly shared her story for autism awareness week.

I chose to volunteer for Lothian Autistic Society as it is something I’ve always wanted to do since my 7 year old son was first diagnosed with autism. Having been through the process of waiting for a diagnosis, working closely with speech and language therapists and deciding on what schools would be best, I felt that I would be able to understand and relate to the parents of the children and young people I would be working with. I also know how great it is when your child achieves a major milestone.

I feel that I am learning a lot working with the young people at Basecamp 2, they are older than my son, so it’s a completely different experience for me and its very rewarding as they are all a lovely bunch of young adults.

Having a child with autism does have its challenges, most of the time, Alfie is a very happy, content boy, but his lack of communication does make it hard when he’s upset as he can’t tell me what is wrong. He is at the very early stages of using PECs and signalong, but still can’t communicate fully. When he is unwell, he has to be checked over as it’s not always obvious what is wrong.

Despite these challenges, it always amazes me how much Alfie can accomplish. He has learned how to swim because of his lack of fear and last year, when we moved house and he changed school, he was not affected by the big change at all and he kept on smiling.

Never underestimate a child or young person with autism, they can accomplish so much if you believe in them.

 

Amy's child.jpeg 

February Family Activity Days 2018

Lothian Autistic Society is delighted to announce the schedule for our February Family Activity Days. The family days are open to families of children and young people with autism and other additional support needs.

We have three dates during the February Holidays where families can come together in a supportive environment to experience something fun.

 

Monday 12th February:

Outdoor adventure day at Wiston Lodge, Biggar (http://wistonlodge.com/).

Wiston Lodge provides “physical, mental and spiritual challenge in a safe and sheltered environment”. The adventure day will include archery and climbing or bushcraft along with a chance to explore Wiston Lodge’s fantastic Path of the Little People engaging in music and storytelling.

This is an all-day event (10 am – 5 pm). We will be providing transport from Edinburgh to Wiston Lodge. However, you are free to take your own transport if this is easier for you.

There are 30 spaces on this Activity Day, both adults and children are able to take part in the activities.

Thursday 15th February:

Rock Climbing at Alien Rock (http://www.alienrock.co.uk/index.html)

We will be running two rock climbing sessions at Alien Rock, Newhaven on the afternoon of Thursday 15th February.

Session one: 12 pm – 1.20 pm

Session two: 2.30 pm – 4 pm

There are 18 spaces in each session. Both adults and children can participate. Instructors will work with groups of 6 to support the teamwork needed to rock climb.

Friday 16th February:

Variety Afternoon at the Fort Community Centre (1 pm – 3 pm)

We will be hosting a Variety Afternoon at the Fort Community Centre, Edinburgh. We will have visiting arts and craft instructors, Animal Man’s Mini Zoo, the Waggy Dog Project, lots of games and play opportunities including messy play. This will be a fantastic opportunity to meet other families, relax and play in a supportive and safe environment. Refreshments will be provided.

There are 55 spaces available for the Variety Afternoon.

There will be a limited number of our office team on hand during the Activity Days to guide you and answer any questions.

These events are free of charge. However, donations are gratefully received and will help us provide further Activity Days and family events in the future.

If you would like to book a place on any of these events, please email or phone the office on 0131 661 3834. Spaces will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. If you are booking more than one event, please indicate your preference in case of oversubscription.

We hope that you are able to come along to these events  – we’d love to see you!

Heritage Lottery Fund

We’re delighted to have been awarded funding for 3 years from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run a new Saturday Activity Programme in Edinburgh.

More information to follow very shortly…

 

Festive Season Office Closure

Lothian Autistic Offices will be closed from 1 pm on Thursday 21st December 2017 and reopen at 9 am on Wednesday 3rd January.

AGM 2017

Lothian Autistic Society would like to invite our members and those who use our services* to attend our Annual General Meeting on Monday 27th November at Norton Park Conference Centre, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY from 10 am – 12 pm.

Lothian Autistic Society is delighted that Christine Collingwood has agreed to speak at our AGM.

Christine is an Improvement Officer with Autism Network Scotland.  She has professional qualifications in social work and in social work education.  She worked for many years with children and families.  Christine has also worked in the field of health and research, and in the charitable sector. She has been involved with autistic children and adults at various stages of their life journey.

Christine will give a presentation on ‘Coping with anxiety and stress around Transitions. Moving between and leaving schools’, after which there will be an opportunity for members to ask questions.

With your continued support, we will make sure that we innovate, inspire and improve life for those affected by autism.

*The AGM is open to those who are not members of Lothian Autistic Society. Non-members will not be able to vote on matters. If you would like to become a member please click here.

Easyfundraising

Support Lothian Autistic Society for free when shopping online with over 600 popular retailers, including Argos, NEXT, M&S, John Lewis, Debenhams, HMV, Vodafone, DELL, The Body Shop, Interflora, Comet and much more.

Is it too early to talk about Christmas…?

With the holiday season fast approaching and ‘Black Friday’ a few days away, Lothian Autistic Society has signed up to Easyfundraising. Easyfundraising is a really simple way to support Lothian Autistic Society by doing your online shopping through Easyfundraising you are able to raise funds for LAS from the comfort of your own home. 

easyfundraising.org.uk provide a FREE service where you can shop at your favourite online stores and at no extra cost raise funds for any charity, good cause or group you choose to support. You still shop directly with each retailer as you would normally, but simply by using the links from the site first each retailer will make a cashback donation to Lothian Autistic Society.

If you already shop online, why not help good causes at no extra cost from purchases you would make anyway.

To register as a Lothian Autistic Society supporter please click here.

 All you have to do is register as a supporter and do your online shopping through the Easyfundraising website. The below video is an easy guide to how Easyfundraising works.