When my son was 4 years old, he was diagnosed with autism and learning disabilities. He was later diagnosed with Epilepsy and a sensory processing disorder, and now aged 12 is non-verbal and currently being tested for ADHD.
I started to access the services that The Maypole Project offer when my youngest daughter was 3 years old, feeling rather overwhelmed at the thought of bringing her up alongside my son. I first used the befriending service which was very useful and helped me to get my head around all that was occurring within my life. My daughter then began utilising the sibling support group which helped greatly.
The Maypole Project organises many activities and outings which enable my child with special needs to be alongside their sibling which is lovely, and something which not many other services provide. My daughter recently attended a sibling only outing. She loved the trip and it was great for her to be surrounded by other children who were in the same or similar position to her. This trip was followed by an all-inclusive trip, which my son and daughter could attend together. My son attends many other clubs, such as swimming, which cater specifically for his needs, but can leave my daughter feeling rather left out, so this unique aspect of The Maypole Project is brilliant. The staff on these trips are amazing, and through a combination of experienced staff and volunteers this helps to ensure that the trip is as exciting as possible for all the children attending.
The Gambado play evenings are another service which we regularly use as a family. As my son is now 12 years old, a soft play centre is usually inaccessible for him. However, as these evenings are dedicated to Maypole families only, my son and daughter can have fun within a safe environment; whilst I am able to catch up with the other families.
The ‘Get-Together @51’ mornings are also great, and provide a space to socialise with other Maypole families over a coffee and cake. These sessions are very relaxed and informal, an environment which doesn’t feel pressurised or forced, and through chatting with other parents I often come away with lots of helpful tips.