This morning, I had a really interesting chat with a taxi driver about autism provision in Bradford. He is really passionate about raising awareness of autism services so has asked me to help spread the word.
This is his tale.
The Taxi Driver (Dad) has a number of children, including a son who was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. Dad said that in the past (pre-diagnosis), he didn’t know how to communicate with his little lad and they often ended up clashing over behavioural issues. Once the diagnosis was in place, Dad went through a full gauntlet of emotions – including guilt – and started to notice how invisible the neuro-atypical were, particularly – he noted emphatically – in his (the Asian) community. So he then ended up very worried that his son would end up hidden in the house, ‘protected’ but limited.
Enter the Busy Bees program (I think this is their website) – a 2 hour after school play group specifically for children with autism (or tendencies) and their siblings. This program has enriched his sons life so much. The little lad discovered he loves music and now plays the guitar and attended music lessons. His confidence has grown – not least from having peers he relates to – and he is now attending swimming classes too!
Many of you will have read in the local news about our funding crisis. Please do not panic – we are not closing. The work we do is funded by various other organisations and charities. We are currently supported by The Big Lottery Fund, The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CBMDC), The Henry Smith Trust as well as many other smaller organisations and individuals. Unfortunately the funding that we receive from the Big Lottery Fund and CBMDC will run out at the end of March. This is because they agreed to fund us until then. The funding ending is not a reflection on them or us.
It is with regret that we have to inform you that following the Easter holidays, we will be suspending delivery of Childrens Services. We are hoping that this will be a temporary measure, however as things stand at present we do not have sufficient funding in place to continue running the out of school sessions. The sessions affected will be Monday and Tuesday Social Skills, Busy Bees, Thursday Night High Support Group and the Saturday Play sessions. We do have applications being processed for funding, however as the outcome of these is not guaranteed we need to take steps now to ensure that there is a clean break with a definite end. We hope that services will be restarted in the near future, but in the mean time I think you would all join me in thanking Simonne, Helen and Danielle for their hard work, dedication and the support they have provided through the groups.