EDICT has been supporting young people on the Autism Spectrum since the earliest days of the organisation. It became clear to us very quickly that the few services which did exist for this group tended to attempt to "fix" the idiosyncratic elements of behaviour. What appeared to be lacking was an opportunity for the young people just to be themselves, and indeed to let off steam.
Most of the young people have experienced significant degrees of bullying and isolation and had become cut off with no obvious peer group.
Allowing them to make the studio space their own, created the opportunity for them to develop the kind of informal social links which other young people take for granted, thereby enabling them to practice the social protocols which often puzzle them.
New Autism Hub
The aim of our project is to create a hub for children and young people on the autism spectrum living in East Dunbartonshire. The principle idea is to provide a meeting place; a social environment which caters for the interests of the autism community (gaming, collecting, comic books, card duelling etc). Our aim is to make it their place; a place where they feel at ease, which caters for their interests and where they can, if they wish, engage with others who share those interests. Confident that this can be achieved, our plan is that the hub would also function as a more comfortable environment in which to meet and engage with other support services and act as a conduit for information and other vocational/educational opportunities.
The hub will also act, as with the existing autism spectrum support service, as a ‘safety valve’ for those struggling with the pressures of meeting the demands of society. Regular attendance at our existing service has provided a connection with their peer group and has contributed to an understanding of the importance of being part of a social group, leading to a reduction in social isolation and relieving pressure on their families to provide all of their social activities.
The hub would also act as a resource for parents and families to share their experiences and to participate in events designed to raise local awareness of the issues surrounding autism feeding into local and national autism strategies. The project will also seek to provide support for the extended period of pro-active parenting required for young people on the autism spectrum.