Asperger's Children and Carers Together (ACCT) helps improve the lives of young autistic people in Sheffield, and their families. We run a weekly Acctivate group for 40 younger children on Saturday mornings and a Wednesday evening club for 30 teenagers, training and support for parents and carers, family days out, monthly swimming sessions and weekly football coaching. We support more than 500 families every year.
This project is all about helping parents and carers of autistic children to share information and advice, and help one another.
When children are newly diagnosed, parents and carers are suddenly faced with this deluge of new information to pick their way through - the health and local authority provision, the minefield of policy and form-filling, the relationship with schools, the need for Autism-friendly activities. It can be overwhelming and can cause families to become isolated. In the natural desire to do everything you can for your child, it can be really difficult to be faced with all the typical parenting worries as well as a whole new bunch of issues related to Autism.
Amongst the ACCT membership are true experts: parents and carers who have been there and done it. Who know which is the right form to fill in, what to ask a school, have some good resources about emotional development, who have found a useful book to read, and lots more.
If we raise the money through this crowdfunder we will use it to fund a peer support parents and carers group. It will allow us to hire separate rooms for parents and carers while our Acctivate and Teenage Club sessions are running and help us provide training and support to peer facilitators to welcome new parents/carers and help answer questions, offer advice and signpost to sources of information. Peer facilitators will also work online, helping answer queries, signpost to information and moderate our online discussion groups. Funding will help contribute to a programme of monthly drop-in coffee mornings for parents and carers, a regular parents meetings with talks and workshops on relevant issues.
This funding would allow us to help more ACCT parents like this:
"ACCT is my support system. I was on the verge of a complete breakdown and despaired that we wouldn't be able to give my son the support he needs. I feel so different now, still worried and overwhelmed but I've learnt so much from staff and parents at ACCT. "