Well how about your local branch of the National Autistic Society? There are many dotted all around the UK and they are organised in different ways depending on the volunteers who run them. Some concentrate on fundraising, some are very proactive with running groups and activities and others concentrate on supporting families with support groups and advice.
At the Derby and District Branch we organise many support groups in the area which are open to anyone wanting to know more about Autism. This maybe because you are a parent with a child who is diagnosed with Autism, someone who is on the spectrum yourself, you may be a teacher or teaching assistant or someone who is studying at university and collating research for your work, support works in all different ways.
We, as a committee are very small in numbers but have experience of Autism. Some of us are parents ourselves with children or young adults on the spectrum or work in this field too. Our support groups are friendly, relaxed with no pressure to say anything if you don't want to, you can simply just come along, have a brew and a biscuit and just listen to others. Personally for me I don't think there is anything as good as mixing with other parents, it's where you get great first hand advice because these are real people living and breathing the Autism world. We've all coped, not coped, had success, made mistakes and some us have still got lots and lots to learn. You get to make new friends too which has been great for me as a single parent, it's been therapy at some points in life.
We work on the aspect of giving people a place to chat and signpost those to vital information they may need, if we don't have the answers for you straightaway we will find help for you so bear with us we will find a solution somewhere for you.
As most of our groups are based in schools we are now back in full flow after the summer holidays and have an up to date list of new groups with some interesting speakers coming along to talk to you. If you would like to book a place on one of our talks just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org otherwise just come along.
For more information on our branch or if you would like to join us as a volunteer we do have a Facebook page:
Here is a list of our meetings up until the end of the year
and if you would like to find a branch near you, you can search for one on the National Autistic Society website at:
I know sometimes for some it is hard to reach out for help and support. Some people find it hard to do and try so hard to cope until things become so desperate you can't cope anymore. We know how that feels and have all been there at some point. I hear a lot of people say 'I'm so glad we got in touch' or I'm glad we went to hear that person talk' or pleased they attended a seminar. There is so much information and useful too so don't feel nervous about coming forward. Help is available in so many ways, reach out and allow yourself to take it, WE ARE HERE FOR EACH OTHER.
I hope that helps a little and maybe I'll see you around at one of our groups.
Thank you so much for reading, I will be back for my TV chat tomorrow with 'Pass the Remote' so take care until then.
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.