Branch Out

What is Branch Out?

Branch Out has been developed in partnership with the Scottish Outdoor Education Centres. The programme aims to enable school leavers and young people with autism to develop the qualities, skills, knowledge and experience they will need in the worlds of work, further study and adult life. 

Over 18 weekends spread between September and May, participants will take part in activities such as archery, crate climbs, woodland walks, shelter building, canoeing and rock climbing. We will incorporate activities that will promote teamwork and leadership such as river rescue and an ‘incident hike’. Young people will be encouraged to reflect on how they feel before, during and after each activity to allow them to realise what they have achieved and the obstacles they have overcome to get there. In addition to these activities there will also be at least one opportunity for the group to spend the night sleeping over at the outdoor centre.

Parents and carers will also be invited to take part in in some of the activities their children have undertaken.  There will also be another family day that the young people will plan and lead.

On one level the project will provide young people with autism the chance to try new activities in a safe and supported setting. The activities will take them out of their normal sphere of activity, stimulating and challenging them physically and emotionally while being supported by people they can trust. They will learn about the natural environment and the living world and be encouraged to see the intrinsic value of caring for natural habitats. Most importantly, they will have lots of opportunities to have fun with their peers.

Who is Branch Out for?

Branch Out is for young people aged 16-18. We understand that some of the activities may seem challenging and demanding for some, but we will assess any referrals that come in on an individual basis. If your child has more complex, challenging care needs then these can be discussed with our Care & Support staff before a place is confirmed.

Where is it held?

Branch Out will take place at the Scottish Outdoor Education Centres at Broomlee. Occasionally activities may take place at other locations, but families will be informed of this in advance.

Click here to visit their website and find out more about Scottish Outdoor Education Centres.

How can I get involved?

Spaces are still available in this project. Contact us on 0131 661 3834 or email office@lothianautistic.org. Otherwise, you can follow our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date with announcements about our Branch Out programmes.

Testimonial

“Branch Out was a good chunk of time. My daughter goes to clubs but it’s a hit or miss. I knew she was happy and that I could definitely plan things for the day the group was on. She came back 9/10 times in a good mood. I could spend some time with my other children and meet friends for coffee. I never got any phone calls to say to come and collect her. It was a nice thing to look forward to for both of us.

She saw that she was good at stuff, she had never really had this experience, nothing has ever  really worked out for her. She has low self-esteem and this is the first time she has realised that she is good at stuff and she has said this herself. It’s the first time she has ever wanted to help – she knows where all the equipment is. It is the first time she has ever been to a club consistently. When she has been anywhere else the rules and ways to receive praise has confused her. I don’t know how Branch Out was organised that made it so different but she was fine. She felt good about everything. She achieved and she knew she had achieved.”