HOW WE WILL SPEND THE MONEY
I want to set up a drama group for teenagers with autism in our area to help them improve social skills and establish friendships.
Our area is very lacking in support and people are on long waiting lists or travelling long distances for support. My group will allow teenagers to establish friendships locally and share interests while learning useful social skills.
I plan to run a summer camp this summer then begin weekly classes from September. Building on this, I would like to bring the programme to ASD units in local schools. I will need to advertise and approach the administration of local schools with statistics relating to my success. I hope to achieve this in the first 12 months.
Support for Autism services is hopelessly underfunded, particularly in satellite areas.
Waiting lists mean that teenagers are isolated and neglected at a very vulnerable time. I am experienced and qualified to deliver this service but parents will still have to pay.
If I receive the funding, I could reduce the cost to the parents. It is very important to teenagers that they feel comfortable among their peers and this is no different for Autistic teens who often feel isolated and different. A group where they feel comfortable has been proven to be enormously beneficial to their mental health and in reducing anxiety.