RICHARD BIRD

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Group from left: Verity Wright, Vic Barnett, Robin Barnett, Bailey Davies

Play session for children with Autism

23rd March 2015 - The following article is reproduced by kind permission of Town and Around

Thirty families with one or more children living with autism had an exclusive session at Heacham’s Farmer Fred’s on Friday evening.

The one and a half hour activity was organised by West Norfolk Nas and was subsidised by father of autistic twins Paul Barnett who said: “ Not everyone understands the challenges families with autistic children face; we often get stared and pointed at because of the children’s behaviour, so having a session like this allows families to relax.

“Autism is really a hidden disability; children look just the same as those who don’t have this disability.” He added

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.  People with autism may also experience over-or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

The play session saw children climbing, sliding and experiencing textures. Some played alone and others interacted with others depending on their unique position on the autism spectrum.

The West Norfolk Branch of the National Autistic Society, with members from an area including King’s Lynn, Downham Market and Hunstanton organises aseveral activities each month and the group has had gym sessions, swimming and visits to Farmer Fred’s. Member Debbie Bibb said: “We don’t normally do social events as a family, but here everyone understands and we are with other families facing the same problems such as lack of sleep and having to be constantly aware of our children’s anxieties so we are immensely grateful for the opportunity to come here where the staff are great; they understand and don’t judge.”

World Autism Awareness week begins on 27th March and Vic Barnett said: “Our group really wants to raise awareness of autism locally. We face a myriad of difficulties on a daily basis and it is our aim to gain understanding from people living in our local area. If there is anyone out there who has a family member with autism and are in need of help and support do get in touch via the website, www.westnorfolknas.org.uk . We are always looking for assistance to fund our activities and if anyone feels they can help us please get in touch with us on 01553 762749 and ask for Paul.” 

Alex, the boy who can’t smile experiences one of the tunnels

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