“My eldest daughter (13)… started with the Arts For Life Project two terms ago and her younger sister (11) started a different session a term later. Both girls have a diagnosis of ASD but are quite different, but both have the characteristic lack of social know-how that most people take for granted. They want to be social and have friends, but find this aspect of everyday life very challenging. APD has helped both of them massively in a relatively short period of time.
First of all, they both love going and wish they could go more often. They enjoy the activities and the people and the surroundings. It’s an escape for them from their every day home and school life, which is really important at this age. It’s a chunk of time that they aren’t staring at their phones but are having fun and just ‘hanging out’ with friends in a safe environment.
I’d recommend ALP to anyone who has a child who has difficulties socially for any reason.
In fact my 9 year old boy, who also has ASD, will be starting with them in September too.”
“Dear Arts for Life team,
I would just like to express my sincere gratitude for creating a wonderful environment for my son to feel happy and safe in, enabling him to explore his creative abilities.
He has thoroughly enjoyed a wealth of activities, from cookery, craft, science (lava lamps, cornflower and water), painting with various mediums and just good old fashioned fun and play.
He has grown in confidence in separating from me (mum) and meeting and communicating with other children.
I feel the sessions have empowered him and in turn, helped grow his self-esteem.
We look forward to joining you again in September.”
“I have a daughter… with high functioning autism who has had some severe mental health issues and spent six months in a children’s psychiatric unit. When she came home we were eager for her to access a class that would help her to feel happy and help her to socialise a little bit. She is extremely anxious and needed something small, nurturing and understanding of her needs. There are not many such classes around! The Arts for Life project was the perfect fit for her! She joined their Creative Crew class and, although she found it difficult at first and couldn’t go every week, the atmosphere was so welcoming, calm and accepting that she felt able to keep trying and now goes every week. She loves it and gets so much enjoyment out of the classes, plus it is an amazing boost to her mood and her self esteem. She is able to socialise in a supportive atmosphere and has even made a new friend there – something that does not come easy to her. Jacqui has a wealth of knowledge in supporting children and both she and Beth provide a very warm, accepting, low-demand atmosphere in which children like my daughter can thrive!
I also have a younger son who is being assessed for ADHD and autism. He has given up on countless activities as he feels “different” and finds it hard to follow instructions, therefore is often in trouble and doesn’t want to go back. Creative Crew has been wonderful for him! He feels completely accepted and like he belongs there and he has whole-heartedly embraced the wonderful activities they do in each class. He comes home brimming with pride at his creations and I have seen his self-esteem soar! He says Thursdays are now his favourite day of the week and even if he has had a bad day at school, Creative Crew always makes him feel better. These classes are wonderful for children who just don’t quite fit into the usual activitiies on offer and who need people who understand them.”