Save our SHORT BREAK services at 'Autism Together!'

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It has come to my attention that the short break services like activity clubs and friendship groups, operated by the Children and Family Services of Autism Together at the Rainbow Resource Centre is at severe risk of being closed down as of the 30th April 2016, this is due to government cuts. The Rainbow Resource Centre, (part of the Autism Together partnership) runs various clubs for autistic young people. My 11-year-old sister is autistic and regularly attends a Saturday club from 10:15-12pm, which she thoroughly enjoys. She is able to socialise with other autistic young people, and in this way she feels included, she has an identity and she no longer stands out from others her age. She has transformed as a person over the short time that she has been there, since this is a place where she feels comfortable, safe and she can truly be herself.

The Saturday club has not only been beneficial for my younger sister but also for our whole family. The members of staff specifically Chloe Jones and Steve Vasey have been extremely helpful, they reassured us that we were not the only family struggling to deal with continuous meltdowns at home. As well as informing us about the autistic spectrum, how we could tackle challenging behaviour and how we could support each other as a family.

It is important to note that, the centre supports families in many ways, too various to mention them all (i.e. a 7-week parent course). If we lose our short break services then I potentially fear for the future of other projects ran by the centre. Without this service in place, both children and their parents/carers may suffer. There may be an increase in family breakdowns and disruptive anti-social behaviour, as the autistic condition becomes misunderstood and more and more people begin to struggle at home, school and in their wider community. The Rainbow Resource Centre allows those with autism to have a voice, it allows them to be heard. Our family is unfortunately, still waiting for Megan’s diagnosis on the NHS. Despite this the support we have gained from the centre has been life changing and without it, we would have been completely lost as the wait, I imagine would have been much longer. 

With that being said, it is fundamental that the short break services at the Rainbow Resource Centre are not cut. It is crucial that young people and their parents/carers access projects like this; a support network that people can rely and benefit from exponentially. If the service no longer exists, autistic children and young people may fade into the background and become overwhelmed by our society. The short break services at the Rainbow Resource Centre, allow our children and young people the ability to socialise, feel included and develop as individuals. So please help save them. We cannot let our children down! 

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