April newsletter

The National Autistic Society Guernsey Branch

July Newsletter


Welcome to our July newsletter.  We hope that you are all enjoying the warm weather - long may it continue!

In the next couple of weeks children and young people will be completing the school year and saying goodbye to their teachers and classmates for the summer holiday.  This can be a very difficult time for children with autism spectrum conditions, with a change of daily routine and structure which then changes back again in September.  We know that many children have limited contact with their peers in the holidays and it can be difficult to find activities that are suitable and engaging.  We are therefore delighted to be running our first summer programme in conjunction with Autism Guernsey (details below) and have lots of family events planned to help you get everyone out of the house and hopefully into the sunshine!

Here are our top tips for a calmer summer
  • Use lots of visuals to help children understand the duration of the holiday - at the beginning of the holiday you could create a large 6 week calendar, or if that may be too much for your child, you could use a series of one week calendars
  • Create a list of potential activities that you and your child could do either at home or out and about. These could be photographs of places to visit or things like cooking, painting or gardening at home - either kept electronically in a photo album on your computer or ipad or printed out and put in a folder.  This could help your child understand where you are going or enable them to more easily make a choice about where they would like to go.
  • If your child likes structure and routine then you could create your own holiday routine, maybe by allowing them computer time at a specific time each day or spending half an hour each morning reading books together or practising some maths. (Many schools have subscriptions to online programmes such as Mathletics which may continue over the summer)
  • If you have a holiday or day out planned then try using a daily schedule either in pictorial or written form to explain what will be happening and when.  Importantly, include when it will be home time and what your child will be able to do when they get home e.g. Will it be dinner time? Will there be time to go on the computer before bath time?
  • There are lots of visual timer apps  that you could use on your phone or tablet when out and about to show the amount of time left until you go home so that the expectation is clear. Try using language such as 'first we will play on the sand then next we will get an ice cream'  to reinforce exactly what is happening when.
  • Some children find it very difficult to understand the boundaries of large spaces. If you have a tablet try taking a photo of where you are e.g. the beach, and then showing your child where they are allowed to play.  You could draw a red cross over the rocks if you do not want them to climb, or draw lines to show that they must stay on a particular section of the beach.
  • Dressing your child in brightly coloured or distinct clothing is helpful when you are trying to spot them in a crowd or on a beach!
  • If your child gets overwhelmed by crowds of people and busy places then try to plan trips out for quieter times. For example, on a very hot day venues such as the Jungle House and the cinema are usually quite quiet as most people are on the beach!
There are more holiday tips that have been shared by parents on the Talk About Autism website here

Summer Programme

We have had a wonderful response to our summer programme of activities for children and young people aged 5-14.  If you have not sent in a booking form then you have a few more days as these must be returned to the Autism Guernsey office by July 11th so that we can then begin confirming places.  Any remaining spaces will be then re-advertised.
Remember that there are also all sorts of family activities to attend together including tea on the beach evenings, a picnic, games in the park and Jungle House sessions. 
You can view all details and download booking forms by visiting our website www.nasguernsey.com/summer2014   

Autism in the Media

We have come across a few new inspiring and interesting books and blogs this month which we thought we would share with you.

A Day in the Life of a Physics student with autism - a BBC Ouch! blog article featuring Michael Barton who is promoting his new book 'A Different Kettle of Fish - A Day in the Life of a Physics Student with Autism' which is published and on sale by JKP.  Michael's quirky and comic illustrations bring to life the journey from the comfort of his familiar university surroundings into the hectic bustle of central London.

Understanding Stanley - Looking through Autism
Over 14 years in the making, receiving a collection of endorsements along the way by Donna William, Paul Isaacs, Rita Jordan, Uta Frith and Simon Baron-Cohen, photographer and parent Rosie Barnes has created Understanding Stanley – Looking through Autism’, a poetic, visual reference book that in a new visual language helps readers to really get a feeling of how life might be for someone on the autism spectrum and how they are actually different.

A Dad's Perspective
Matt Davis is the patron of Ambitious about Autism and writes a blog about his experiences of parenting a child with autism.  This week he writes about the family dynamics and the relationship between his son and his daughter. A really interesting read!

Events Diary

How to Train a Dragon 2
Sunday 6th July

The Mallard Cinema

The next autism child friendly screening at The Mallard cinema will be on Sunday 6th July at 10.30am
The film will be 'How to Train a Dragon 2.' To view the trailer please click here
Please telephone NEZ at the cinema on 266366 to book your tickets, stating clearly that it is the 10.30am screening that you would like to book.

Summer Party and BBQ
Sunday 13th July
Western Community Centre, St Peters (Styx)

Staff from JT are again kindly going to help us run our summer BBQ on Sunday 13th July.  With the event running from 11am-3pm there is plenty of time for you to pop in just for lunch or make a day of it.  We will have bouncy castles, arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor toys and games as well as our book library and refreshments.  New families are always welcome, and please feel free to bring along friends and famliy members.
Please RSVP stating how many adults and how many children will attend so that we can get numbers for catering. Please advise of any special dietary requirements.

Saturday 26th July
The Autistix
Fermain Tavern
Doors open 7.30pm
Tickets £5 on the door

The AutistiX are a unique band that combines rock and roll with edgy indie sounds, performing both original material and some covers from favourite bands. The band’s unique sound sets them apart, but so do their young members: Jack Beaven Duggan, Luke Steels and Saul Zur-Szpiro, all of whom have autism. They are led by a talented singer and mentor, Jim Connelly, and joined by Jack's father, John and Saul's father, Michael.

The band was formed in April 2010, from a local group originally set up for young people with autism. The young musicians were talented musically but had had difficulties developing their social skills, making friends or finding the opportunity to form bands or perform.

Coming together to form a band, the young musicians named themselves ‘The AutistiX’ as they were keen to be recognised for their musical talent but accepting and proud of being musicians with autism. The band, as well as being creative and fun, provides opportunities to develop musically, personally and socially. It has also been nice for father and son to bond through playing music together in the band.

Please like and share our Facebook event page to help spread the word!


Moving on Up Club

The Moving on Up Club is a social group for young people aged 14 to 30 with mild social and language disorders and aims to help develop social skills.  They meet very Tuesday evening (term times only) at Les Ozouets Campus, the club runs from 6.00 till 8.00pm

Moving on Up Club, GO and Sunday Specials are getting together for 2 summer events. Members of the NAS are also welcome to attend, see what it is all about and have the chance to meet new people.

  • Sunday 27 July Picnic/BBQ @ 8th Scout Headquarters 5-8pm. Bring your own food.
  • Sunday 24 August Canoe/Beach Party Cobo Bay 5-8pm

For more details please email movingonclub@hotmail.co.uk

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