Our Family Outreach Team runs several Family Days throughout the year around the West Midlands. Family Days are aimed at families who have a child with autism and can be attended by the whole family. Often, grandparents, aunties and uncles attend along with the parents and children (including siblings).
Family Days take place at our head office as well as in local community venues such as community centres and church halls. Venues are chosen specifically with the needs of the young people in mind. They take place at the weekends, enabling parents to attend training that they often miss in the daytimes. Family Days are an opportunity for the whole family to get together, share experiences and make happy memories. They are all about having fun with entertainment, educational opportunities, support and relaxation, in an autism friendly environment.
Activities vary depending on the venue and time of year, but can include:
We offer activities including magic shows, discos, circus skills, games, bouncy castles, arts and crafts, visits from the Animal Man and more. We also offer sensory toys or a sensory room in order for the children to relax and balance their senses, if over or under stimulated. We sign post activities and amenities, both visually and in writing and give an overview of what will happen on the day, to cut down on surprises!
We offer opportunities for children to develop social skills in a non-threatening environment, via activities and games involving turn taking and sharing.
We have workshops on a number of relevant topics, including toileting, sensory issues, challenging behaviour etc. As well as workshops, we often have guest speakers who are individuals on the autism spectrum to share their stories of inspiration. Representatives from other organisations are invited to share information and provide yet more support for the families. We often offer massage opportunities, to give parents/carers a chance for a well-earned rest, while the children are entertained.
We are conscious of the amount of noise; hence, the numbers of attendees are limited and the volume of any music adjusted to keep it autism-friendly. We are also aware of the need for a quiet area for children to relax when the get overwhelmed.
All in all, our Family Days are relaxed, inclusive events, where we strive to cater to the needs of all of the family.
Benefits of Family Days include:
The Family Days prove to be very popular and provide enormous benefits for all of those who attend.
Meet others and share experiences
Receive specific training from a specialist trainer
Discuss issues in a safe and non-judgmental environment
Attend training whilst having their children present in the building (especially important for people who struggle with childcare)
For young people with autism:
Access clear and structured activities
Join activities specifically designed to support young people to engage in new experiences and develop new skills
Have positive experiences alongside their siblings
The chance to be independent, away from their parents, but with the security of still having them in the building
Meet other children in a safe environment