New “grown-up” youth club for autistic youngsters with nowhere to go post 19
PUBLISHED: 15:43 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:48 28 February 2019
A new youth group for autistic teenagers for whom services all but vanish once they reach 19 is aiming to foster friendships and improve life skills.
Sunbeams Play in Gapton Hall Road saw there was little “comfortable” provision for young people on the spectrum in Great Yarmouth to enjoy social activities once they hit 19 and were pretty much off everyone’s books - including theirs.
In response the charity has set up a new club with activities suited to older children who don’t want to mix with tots or much older people, where a lot of the support is focused.
Sue Carr, deputy manager, said her own son Connor, 18, had come on in leaps and bounds since attending the club, where no-one raises an eyebrow over tics or worries if someone says something “silly.”
MORE: ‘It is you that has to change’ - the driving force behind Norfolk’s only play centre for children with autism
She said: “Parents seem to love it and I have seen such a dramatic change in my son.
“I love seeing him laugh and joke with his friends, which is something I have never seen him do before.
“Some of them feel a bit silly if they make funny noises or say silly things.
“But here they will just accept everyone and get on with it.”
The new club came about because regular members said they were sad to leave, and some existing ones wanted more grown-up things to do among those of a more similar age.
It aims to help older members to begin to transition into a wider community, experience new situations, and develop skills needed as an adult.
Life skills from cooking to money management, as well as movie nights on the centre’s big screen are all in the pipeline.
And the centre will be running Warhammer sessions combining fun with mathematical, modelling, and literacy skills.
Although Sunbeams has traditionally been device-free it will be allowing multi-player games that rely upon motion control like the Nintendo Wii improving fine motor skills, coordination, and spatial awareness.
Sessions run on Tuesdays 5.30-8.30pm to allow for those working or at college to drop in.
For more information contact Sunbeams on 01493 442181.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.