All of our members have a severe learning disability or autistic spectrum disorder and many have multiple and complex disabilities including physical, behavioural and social problems. They range in age from 4 to young adults – we increased our upper age limit a few years ago, as older members did not want to leave!
Young people with special needs are far from a homogenous group. The thing that our members have in common is that it is difficult or impossible for them to join in with mainstream activities, while most also miss out on the informal holiday activities enjoyed by other young people such as going to the park with friends, due to their high individual support needs.
Some of our members have hyperactivity disorders and are active and boisterous, while others prefer quiet activities or have mobility problems. They have the same range of tastes and interests as any group of young people. Our members have a wide range of interests, talents and abilities and we aim to provide choices to suit everyone!
The support needs of our members vary widely and include tube feeding, various communication needs such as sign languages (BSL/Makaton), toileting support including changing adult incontinence pads, wheelchair users, children with attention deficit disorders and boisterous behaviour, epilepsy, and other needs requiring specialist support. Some members are assessed as needing two carers for any statutory support (which we provide if needed) but are left to the care of their families during the long summer holidays, when few have any statutory support. Many families find it impossible to find someone to care for their child, even for a short time (eg to enable them to go to shopping).
Members come from towns and villages around North Wiltshire – some travel even further to join in because there is so little provision available. There is a huge need for more activities that are accessible for young people with special needs and unfortunately we are not able to offer a place to everyone who needs one.
If you know a young person who would like to join our activities please contact us.