Thank you for taking the time to read my just giving page, and hey to all my Facebook friends :-) by clicking this page you will have noticed that I am planning on abseiling from top of the rail bridge in order to raise money for The Yard.
Many of you are of course know and value The Yard just as I do, but for those of you who don't know much about it, or what it does, I'd like to write a little about some of the ways in which I feel The Yard has helped support both Ben and myself over the last 7 years.
I first heard of The Yard, shortly after my son Ben was diagnosed with autism ages 3. He and I joined a 3-5's autism specific club run by the yard. This was a parent and toddler club, supported by trained play workers, and which as the name suggests was for children age 3-5 with autism, and for the first time it gave us a place to play with others.
As a young child Ben would not play with or even near other children, he would not even enter a children's play park area if there were any other children in it. Instead we would stand afar and I would watch painfully as Ben ran in circles around me desperate to play on the swings or slide, but far too overwhelmed by sensory issues and anxiety to go near. I had to take him to the swing park at 6am so he could play alone.
Mother and toddler groups were worse. Ben really didn't cope with these. Far from mixing in anyway with the other children Ben would stand outside and he (and I) would watch the other children play from behind a glass door, – any attempt to take him inside would have him quite simply clinging onto me, his head hidden against my chest.
The Yard's small club for children, who like my son needed their own space, offered for the first time a space where my son could play freely. But not only did it benefit Ben, it also helped me. I was able to talk to other mothers who's children had the same and similar issues as Ben.
Ben has continued to attend the yard and at the moment enjoys the autism 8 – 12 club, a drop off club which with the support of an excellent play team staff offers him support to play and integrate with other children his age outside of school. It is the only out of school club Ben is able to attend.
I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff and volunteers who have always made the yard a fun and safe place for children with disabilities and their families to play. The Yard offers a large range of activities for children with disabilities, not just autism through their many clubs and family sessions. Thank you The Yard.
Thanks for reading this, and if you would like to help me reach my target be that would be fantastic. Thank you.