So yesterday was our fundraising sponsored walk in the park with the children.
We all set off in beautiful sunshine from the fountain in Victoria Park, Ashford. A gentle stroll along to first play park. All the children had fun, we had some amazing climbers, as I looked around at happy children, it occurred to me for the first time ever the ASD kids were outnumbering the neuro-typical's!
We then moved off to the next park a bit further on for more fun, and then on to the fountain again.
It was as we were on the last bit, I was walking with 3 amazing boys (slightly biased one was my son!) these 3 boys had discovered a mutual love of Minecraft and the new Autcraft server especially for those on the spectrum. Now it is sad to say that I do know a bit about Minecraft as I do play with my son as I think it's important to share his world. So being able to join in as they exchanged usernames, and talked of Enderchests, and Diamond armour, scored me some serious cool mum points, they even offered to build me a house next to theirs!
But what thrilled me more was the fact they there were so completely happy, to have found friends who got it the same as they did, just being completely accepted.
After the walk all the families were invited back to the Beaver Inn who provided a BBQ, Candy Floss and bouncy castle, all for free for the families to enjoy. I can't say how much this meant to families. It was lovely to watch as everyone chatted and the children intereacted with one another each in their own way.
Yes the day raised some much appreciated funds, but, more than that it raised awareness, created acceptance, and formed friendships that will continue to grow.
Austin is a former actor/singer who in his spare time would volunteer and
work in and around many disabilities. Not happy with some of what he saw, Austin developed his own workshops.
His interest in autism grew from a friend that was on the ‘spectrum’. He
learned how to build strong bonds and understanding by putting himself in the shoes of the person he’s working with – seeing life from their point of view.
After suffering a serious head/brain injury in 2007 Austin was left with his
own disabilities which brought about a change in his career. Working within autism became his main focus as he trained and enjoyed working for the NAS.
He is currently Senior Behavioural Support and Training Officer for Anna Kennedy Online.
Austin has been delivering training with ASD Ashford over the last 2 years, and has helped many of our members. He has always been hugely supportive of what we do as group, and it's fair to say he has been taken to the hearts of our families.
It was with great pleasure that in February 2014, he came on board as our Patron.