We have been using the facilities at Aura for the National Autistic Society - Furness Branch since it opened and the children, young people, parents and carers who have attended the sessions are always very positive about their experiences. The varied range of activities are perfect for small groups and are suitable for all ages and abilities.
Many children with autism experience additional and significant sensory processing difficulties so benefit greatly from the new multi-sensory gym facilities. Parents have reported how much progress their children and young people have made through attending sessions. Improvements have been seen in physical skills, emotional well- being, communication and sensory integration as well as improvements in social skills such as cooperation and turn taking and friendships have started to emerge between young people.
Lucy, the knowledgeable and experienced owner is always on hand to offer informed advice to parents to allow them to make the best use of the equipment available.
There is added value for parents and carers too through the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The opportunity to have a cup of tea and a chat helps to develop informal support networks and gives the chance for the sharing of experiences and strategies.
Feedback from parents has included many suggestions for its use as a community hub and the potential for the excellent facilities to be used for developing targeted and specialist groups for children and young people with SEND to allow parent carers to have a short break.
The facilities could also be used for training sessions by community health professionals to help parents and carers to address identified sensory processing difficulties and how to use the activities to encourage communication, help reduce anxiety in their children and promote emotional wellbeing and positive mental health through exercise and relaxation. Bespoke individual and measurable programmes could also be developed.
Aura also offers many potential opportunities for developing positive early support and intervention for pre- school children, individuals and groups, and for opportunities for parent carer only groups to allow time for relaxation and time to chat.
Jackie Bell Branch Officer NAS - Furness
NAS - Charity No. 269425