I have three children all diagnosed with Asperger’s and throughout the difficulties we have faced as a family we have attended many different health services, counselling, occupational therapy, physio and training sessions. While a lot of this has been helpful for the day-to-day tasks and given ideas on how to structure a routine and organise school books etc we spent a lot of time trying to source a group or activity that the children would fit into.
We tried youth clubs which were too noisy, boxing which they were barred from due to miss reading social skills and hitting someone when they weren’t supposed to, trampolining and jujitsu which was painful due to mobility issues to eventually running out of activities and clubs.
Eventually we sourced NAS, national Autistic Society, they ran a monthly meet up close to us, we attended with the children, the youngest enjoyed the activities but there was nothing for the older children who ended up sitting alone and then refusing to attend, I then sourced a group for teenagers, though it is 30 miles away in Cookstown but my son didn’t feel like he fitted into that group, a lot of their activities are drama and music based.
I then joined Autism NI, we have a support group in Antrim and I thought if I joined that with the resources, they have I would be able to make a difference to the young people's lives. Autism Ni used to run a funky monkeys meetup once a month, this was suitable for young people under the age of 8/10. During my time there I tried to get them to fund a teenage group and I asked about running my own fundraising under them and having this club for our young people so they had something similar to the rest of the children their age but never received a reply. This is when I began looking into starting our own group which I finally started in September 2018 with the constitution being finalised on the 9th September and from then became a registered charity.