Little things can make a huge difference

Two years ago I sat at my computer and made a decision, I was aware that all of the Autism support groups run by the local NHS had extremely strict criteria for attendance and there were countless families waiting for a diagnosis, or just wondering if someone they knew may be on the spectrum and they had nowhere to go to get help and guidance.

Having got the t-shirt on this one I knew how lonely and daunting the whole process of getting any assistance was, so, with a simple Facebook page and room booked in a local restaurant, Autism One on One was born.

Vikie Shanks - Carer of the Year

My Beautiful children, their amazing support with Autism One on One has made it what it is.  Thank you so much to all of you xxxxxxx

That first night, myself and the children sat in the room wondering if anyone would come, half an hour later we were shocked to see that the room was bursting with people and it was apparent that we would need more space very quickly.  I found another venue where we could meet without cost to our members (I was adamant that the group would have to be free in order for no-one to be excluded from attending), and, two years later, it’s a thriving community both online and at the meetings.

Firm friendships have been established, people feel supported, advice is available and once a month our group can meet, free from the disapproving glances of strangers, people connect with like-minded people and feel safe, happy and understood.

Last night one of our young members performed a magic act in order to gain some practice for his show at Autism’s Got Talent, he was brilliant and the reception he received from everyone was rapturous!  Without the group he would have had nowhere to practice his short piece and we all wish him the best of luck in the show in May.

Simple things can make a huge difference and the payback is seeing people feeling supported and giving hope where there was none before.  If you have expertise in a particular area or feel passionately about something, just think, could you do something similar and make lives better?  I bet you could!

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