This week has seen the culmination of weeks of planning. Some time ago, I saw a post from our local library on their Facebook page, showing off their latest wall display in the children’s area – a local childminding group had created it, and not only did it showcase some of the kids artwork but it also was an excellent promotion of the childminder in the local area. The library had commented that they welcomed other local groups to contact them about using the space for their own display, and immediately I thought of our ASD Helping Hands group.
The ASD Helping Hands Family Support group has been invaluable to Picklepot and I since we started going in January 2016. For two hours every fortnight we meet at a local venue and there are arts and crafts activities, the chance for the kids to play together and enjoy themselves without worrying about being judged by their peers for their ‘different’ behaviour, a chance for adults to have a coffee (or tea!) and a chat about things, a place for us to discuss things, a place where we don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks of us because all of us are in this together.
Since joining the group I have made friends who truly understand what it can be like. The group has changed, we moved venues at the beginning of this year and some people don’t come any more, other people have started coming … but on the whole we still feel like not enough people know about the group, not enough people know it’s there and it’s available. The idea is that this is a family support group, so all members of the family are welcome, and even if the person with ASD doesn’t want to come to the meeting, that’s OK, they don’t have to; the idea is that everyone feels welcome, nobody feels judged and the group is a place you can come and enjoy yourself.
With the idea of getting information about the group to more people who could benefit from it, I contacted the library and asked if our group could be considered to create a display. The library were quick to say yes, and the date was set that our display would be up ready for the week starting 11th September. At our next meeting we discussed some ideas of what we could do, and we came up with our plan.
We drew around hands and cut them out, and everyone decorated some hands with colouring pencils. We found a foam tree with foam leaf-colours which we cut out hand shapes and on each one we wrote the name of the children in the group. I created a big poster for the centre of the display saying ASD Helping Hands.
One of the ladies who comes to group knows someone who works for the local free magazine, and she contacted them about the display – they said if we sent a high resolution photograph along with a small written piece to go along with the photograph, they would run it in the magazine as a local interest story, which again obviously promotes the group and tells even more people about it.
Yesterday, myself and one of the other mums (and her daughter) met at the library with our display in a carrier bag in pieces, armed only with a wall staple gun and our imaginations on how we were going to bring it altogether. We talked, we laughed, we worked it out, we planned, and we got the display up on the wall. It took us the best part of 2 hours, but it was time well spent and we are so pleased with our efforts when we were finished.
Today was our first Helping Hands meeting since before the summer holidays. Afterwards we all went to the library together, and one of the mums’ fathers met up with us with his fancy camera, and he took some photographs of the group in front of the display. We now need to choose which of the final two photographs we are going to send to the magazine along with the article.
I’m very proud to be part of our little group. There’s lots of stress and tears involved when you’re struggling to get where you need to for a family member with ASD, but our group has shown me there is lots of laughter and friendship along the way as well.
|We Are Each Unique And Beautiful, Together We Are A Masterpiece|