A Special Need
Activities for Autistic Families

The world we live in has a wide range of special needs individuals that all have to be catered for, but they can’t all be provisioned for under one roof and so you have hundreds, even thousands of charitable organisations that try to meet these needs.
One such organisation is the Family Autistic Spectrum Support or FASS for short, which is a registered UK charity that provides support for families with an autistic child or children, and I have seen firsthand what they do for the children and their parents, who are just as important in their processes.
Allow me to say that I think FASS provides a first rate service, supplying great family support, bolstering hope for the families in building the future (which all families look to do) without any obstacles to hold them back because of autism…

Article written by Jonathan Fleming.

What is Autism?
16% of autistic people and their families think the public understand autism in a meaningful way. The National Autistic Society want to change this and create a society that works for autistic people.
Video by: National Autistic Society (NAS — autism.org.uk)

FASS is based in Fareham, Hampshire, UK and operates its diverse set of activities through a membership scheme that is free to join if you have a child on the autistic spectrum, but before we get into how that all works, let’s just have everyone understand a bit about the autistic condition.

As stated by the National Autistic Society on their website, Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and how they interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'.

Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. Some need more help, others need less. All people on the autism spectrum can still do lots of things like learn and develop new skills, they just need the right support, with the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own making.

The Autistic Spectrum includes a range of linked conditions, this can sometimes extend to include singular symptoms and traits which is why in some cases, a spectrum approach joins together conditions that were previously considered separately. The different elements of a spectrum either have a similar appearance or are thought to be caused by the same underlying mechanism. In either case, a spectrum approach is taken because there appears to be no unitary disorder, but rather a syndrome comprising of subgroups. Thus the spectrum may represent a range of conditions, from relatively severe disorders through to relatively mild and nonclinical deficits.

Floating On A Pink Flamingo Floating On A Pink Flamingo
Monkeying Around Monkeying Around
Playtime Playtime
Curiosity Curiosity
The Lego Box The Lego Box
Kids Lego Build Kids Lego Build
Hand Bike Ride Hand Bike Ride
Slide, tap or click to view others.

You’ll probably be surprised to know there are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK (which is effectively greater than one person in every 100 people). If by knowing this statistic you think you could spot someone with autism in the street or through your everyday life, you’d be wrong, you cannot always tell that someone is autistic just by looking at them. This makes it difficult for the public to understand what is going on when an autistic person is affected by one of their conditions or has an episode which could range from rampages, shouting, screaming, crying, throwing things, hitting things, and/or kicking things, usually in a ploy to get the attention they want or are seeking.
All this can happen just because someone has spoken to them or taken something away, perhaps for their own safety.

Giving The Parents A Break The parents enjoying a session of bingo while the children ran around the funky apparatus at Monkey Bizness in Gosport, Hampshire, UK
Picture by: Jonathan Fleming (charityneeds.com)
Parents and carers have to establish vital skills to provide the support some autistic people may need and this can get wearing, which is why the parents and carers need attention too, simple attention such as someone to talk to or respite from time to time. For the most part when I mention carers here, I’m not actually talking about health care professionals, I’m really talking about the rest of the immediate and extended family as well as friends of the autistic person, because it is generally those close and unchallenged members who will be looking after an autistic person all the time. This is because an autistic person likes familiarity, people they know who spend time with them and make them feel safe and comfortable.
An autistic person may find it hard to meet people, interact with them and make friends. They may or may not say what they need or say how they feel, but whether they do or not, everything they do is through deeply felt emotions. They can even be trying to express more than one thing at the same time which could set them on one of their ‘episodes’ if the parent or carer doesn't understand their communication.

Family Pool Time A family enjoying the private swimming activity in Wildern Leisure Centre, Wildern Ln, Hedge End, Southampton SO30 4EJ that FASS puts on for its members
Picture by: Jane Freeman, A FASS Trustee (fass.org.uk)
Some autistic people may find other things hard to take such as certain smells, sounds, colours or bright lights. Others may not like people touching them, yet another may relish these things.

Autistic people may have something they are very interested in, or something they are very good at. This could be art, music or something else. Some may like to do the same thing everyday while others take to a variety of stimulating activities. Having a rigid schedule or routine, however, can help most feel safe. It can be hard for these people to change things, and it truly becomes the habit of a lifetime which can be extremely hard to break for an autistic person, if not impossible.
Outside of this cocoon of activity, sometimes things can feel too much for autistic people, they may get worried or scared, and may feel that people do not understand them, because of this they may want to spend time on their own removing themselves from the confusion they could be feeling.

I learned all this first hand after receiving a call from a friend wanting to help the charity (FASS) get some well deserved attention. My friend told me about the situation that FASS had found themselves in, which was one of limited resources to promote their purpose, their activities and the support network they are building and providing to their members.
Fass are not the only charity that are limited by such resources, a great deal of charities have this very same issue, but being the trustee of Charity Needs Foundation, a charity that promotes, markets and profiles voluntary sector organisations worldwide, to help them gain awareness, funding and volunteers, it is hoped that through this article you will show your support and help FASS become more visible.

FASS’s problem had nothing to do with the running of their events or the spending of funds, their events are run spectacularly well. I visited and joined in with two of their activities and probed into this area to then learn of ‘The Party In The Park’ event that they will host on July 20th 2019, 10am - 4pm, at Westlands Grove (Community Center), Portchester, Fareham, PO16 9AD and found that they are very careful with how they appropriate their funds for all the events and activities they put on to keep young autistic people in a stable and enjoyable routine.

The “Party In The Park” event has been established for the very reason of visibility, since visibility is the underlying problem. And should the expected audience turn out in droves on the day and spend on the stalls, food, drink and other entertainments that will be available, it will turn out to be a fundraising success too.
The music entertainment has been offered free of charge as a donation, stall pitches have been charged an upfront fee and other primary elements have been acquired at a nominal cost such that a charity could benefit from, so the 20th July 2019 will be a good day for anyone in, near or visiting the area to show support.

UPDATE ON PARTY IN THE PARK: The date has now passed, but the general public showed FASS huge support by turning out in their droves as was hoped for, more than 2500 people presented themselves and had a great day with tea and cakes from the WI’s stall, handmade wooden items, usborne books, general home made crafts, unicorn rides, glitter tattoos and face painting for the kids, burgers, hot dogs strawberries & cream, many games all handmade and raffle and tombola.
The weather was very good apart from a couple of minutes of rain then blazing sun.
It turned out to be a wonderfully glorious day.

FASS have identified they need to start "spreading the word" about their activities and support further afield beginning with the coverage of Hampshire and West Sussex, not just the small radius around Fareham and Gosport where most of their activities presently take place.
Should FASS’s expansion program prove successful they will be branching out, step-by-step, to other towns, cities and shires until they have a reach that is UK wide.

In order for FASS to expand into a national charity, it needs more members, trustees and volunteers to man events.
Interested parties don’t necessarily need to be involved with the charity on a day-to-day basis to be a trustee, but it would really help if you gained some understanding of the condition that is the Autistic Spectrum which you could do through the National Autistic Society’s website (autism.org.uk).
Any existing or new members are good candidates too, after all, members are well suited in a trustee role as they truly understand the purpose and would know first hand what the charity is trying to do, or needs to do, going forward.

I Support FASS (Logo) We Support FASS (Logo)
So, this is where you, the public, come in and how you can help.
If you have your own website you can provide serious help without having to give one penny (if that may be limiting to you) by putting one of these FASS badges anywhere on the homepage of your website and link it to http://fass.org.uk. You can also get the badges from: http://charityneeds.com/feature/fass.org.uk/fass-badges
If by reading this article your heart has been lifted, you have learned a thing or two or have simply been made aware of the organisation that is FASS, then what better way to round off your good feelings than by showing FASS support. I can’t tell you what an immense amount of good you will be doing just through that easy action and it works effectively for any charity. You can do that, right...?.Good on you.
We’ll also place the code you can use in the footnotes.

FASS has over 300 members, each member representing a family with a child or young person with autism or related issues and you can join for free if you have a child with these kinds of special needs.

Finding Their Stride Kids and parents getting into the flow of their Kayaking activity at Portsmouth Watersports Centre, Eastern Road, PO3 5LY, UK
Picture by: Jane Freeman (trustee at fass.org.uk)
FASS offers a range of activities and support for children, siblings and their parents. The activities are designed to suit all ages, interests and abilities and care is taken to minimise factors that might cause anxiety, i.e. noise, crowds and queues by ensuring any facilities are closed to the general public and made available to FASS privately. This ensures that, if there are any kind of issues that arise during that session, nobody goes into a blind panic since everyone there knows how to deal with a crisis and will be able to calm the situation down.
As well as its many regular activities, FASS makes sure it organises some special seasonal and social events to add extra variety to it’s programme during the year.
In addition, FASS has a facebook support group, giving members the opportunity to exchange views, share ideas and ask advice on a private and non-judgemental platform. This will be linked in the footnotes.

If you have one or more autistic children (diagnosed or not) and would like to become a member of FASS, they’d love to hear from you, find details at either of these two addresses — https://www.joinit.org/o/family-autistic-spectrum-support and for the FASS Member Agreement and Information — https://www.fass.org.uk/fass-member-agreement-information/
And should you need to email them, feel free to contact the trustee Jane Freeman at FASS’s email address: admin@fass.org.uk.

It’s A Jungle Out There Jungle Book capers in a private/closed session at Monkey Bizness an activities and adventure playground for kids in Gosport, Hampshire, UK.
Picture by: Jonathan Fleming (charityneeds.com)
FASS are always on the lookout for people to help with activities, or some of the behind-the-scenes admin, you can give as little or as much time as you’re able, so do please get in touch if you’d like to help — https://www.fass.org.uk/contact-us/contact/
It doesn’t matter whether you have children or not, any offers of support are very welcome.

FASS needs you! Support them, help them, care for them... Goodness knows they care for you.

Human Crabs Kids bending over backwards to provide fun and laughter at the Monkey Bizness adventure playground in Gosport, Hampshire, UK
Picture by: Jonathan Fleming (charityneeds.com)

Make It Stop
An autistic person can sometimes get too much information. It’s as if their brain is too crowded – and about to explode. But by taking a minute, you can give an autistic person the time they need to process that information.
Understand autism, the person, and the change you can make.
Video by: National Autistic Society (NAS — autism.org.uk)

This is a CNF Feature Article

This page is embeddable, click for code
Head/Cover image taken by: Jane Freeman — A FASS Trustee (fass.org.uk)
Head/Cover image description: Kids and parents bonding through FASS’s Kayaking activity.
Article written by: Jonathan Fleming
Article edited by: Charity Needs Foundation
Article Length: Words count is 2144 from 13026 characters
Released — 12-07-2019 @ 06:30
Modified — 31-07-2019 @ 13:30 — Updated on the 'Party In The Park' event and how well it did


  • FASS’s Party In The Park Date (date now passed - update in article body): 
    Yes, FASS is having a party for the general public to come to and enjoy free of charge on 20th July 2019, 10am - 4pm, Portchester. There will be entertainment throughout the day and a selection of food and drink. including music and craft stalls for you to browse, plus games for all to play. All proceeds go to FASS. Your support would be appreciated. UPDATE: And your support was appreciated with more than 2500 in attendance. Full update in body of article.

  • FASS Email Address: 
    FASS email: admin@fass.org.uk

  • National Autistic Society Community Forum
    The Community is our discussion forum for autistic people, their families and other wider network. It allows you to meet online and share your thoughts and experiences. It’s free to join and a great way to share support. Please check the rules before posting - including why we cannot accept research and survey postings. The forum can be found at this url: https://community.autism.org.uk/

  • Donations to FASS (Family Autistic Spectrum Support): 
    Send donations direct to FASS through their PayPal account: FASS PayPal Account 
    Your donation will help their network of autistic children

  • Donations to Charity Needs Foundation: 
    Send donations direct to CNF through their PayPal account: CNF PayPal Account 
    Your donation will help Charity Needs Foundation continue to support, profile and make aware to the world's public, voluntary sector orgaisations.

  • Download “I Support FASS” badge, put it on your homepage and link it to fass.org.uk
    You can also right click the image and choose 'Save Image As...'
    or you can copy the code here and paste it to your homepage.

    I Support FASS (Badge)

  • Download “We Support FASS” badge, put it on your homepage and link it to fass.org.uk
    You can also right click the image and choose 'Save Image As...'
    or you can copy the code here and paste it to your homepage.

    We Support FASS (Badge)

  • About Images In This Article: 
    All images in this article containing people or children were taken with the permission of FASS and the members concerned. In accordance with their agreements, no identities are revealed in the article or any data surrounding the article.

  • FASS Trustees: 
    This organisation is run by trustees: Edward Davis-Hofbauer, Michelle Carter, Scarlett Bryant and Jane Freeman.

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