A hospital worker has set up a support group following her son’s experience with autism.
Becky Noble, a medical secretary in the Ophthalmology department of Blackpool Victoria Hospital, set up the group following the late diagnosis of her son’s autism and lack of information and support for those with autism between the ages of 16 and 70.
Becky realised that most support groups are aimed at children or parents, so thought she’d take steps to bridge that gap.
The Facebook Late Diagnosis Support group she set up three years ago, has more than 3,500 members, 85% of which are autistic. The rest are family members.
She has help and guidance to run the group effectively from The Autistic Co-operative and respected autistic bloggers and vloggers.
Becky said: “My son Nathan was born with epilepsy (and obviously autism) – but was only diagnosed with autism relatively late at almost 18, so missed out on all appropriate support throughout school. The anxiety associated with autism can lead to isolation so I also decided to create a group for others who may feel the same way.”
The Autism Spectrum Fylde Coast Meet-Up provides a safe, controlled environment among like-minded people so members know they’re not going to be judged
Becky said: “Many on the spectrum have anxiety and socialising/interacting with strangers can be a frightening prospect. But so far the group have enjoyed trips to the cinema, restaurants (at quieter times), archery coaching, golf driving range, an Escape Room Challenge, bowling and more.”
Firm friendships have been formed within the group and some members now meet up independently. There’s no pressure to make small talk and some participants take noise-cancelling headphones. Members can bring a parent or partner for support.
Becky added: “I’ve basically had to wing it all Nathan’s life but researched autism extensively from when he was young and I’ve learned a lot from other autistic people.
“By very gently encouraging Nathan out of his comfort zone, he’s learned essential life skills such as building up confidence to go into shops, making phone calls, keeping track of appointments, ordering and taking medication, preparing for interviews, etc. I home studied with him and also found a private tutor who herself was autistic. He started to thrive, is now in the second year of a degree and I’m immensely proud of him.
“I find it personally rewarding bringing people together and have met some amazing people through the group. I even part fund some of the events myself. Members range from age 16 to 70. New members are very welcome and people are free to contact me if they have any questions.”
Should you wish to contact Becky directly, her email is Becky_boo1967@yahoo.co.uk or call 07884 255139.
You can find the Facebook groups at:
Autism Spectrum Late Diagnosis Support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/676189865840218/
Autism Spectrum Late Diagnosis Support (for Parents/Carers): https://www.facebook.com/groups/586219365162726/
Autism Spectrum Fylde Coast Meet-up (16+) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1958095580901946/