A specialised support hub for people with autism and ADHD set up by the mother of an autistic child will open its door for the first time.
Sharon Weston, from Ollerton near Retford, was inspired by her 11-year-old son Cody to found the new ‘Oasis’ hub after he started secondary school and found it hard to adjust.
She said: “Cody had just started at Tuxford Academy and found it really hard going from junior to secondary school.
“He has no friends, nobody wants to know him because they dismiss him as ‘strange’. One evening he came and asked me why there were no other children like him at school.
“That evening I spoke to my husband and said that we needed to do something about this. I wanted there to be a place where parents and their kids could come, grab a coffee and chat and let their kids play together.”
Sharon enlisted the help of Liz Philips, of the Lifespring Centre in Ollerton. Liz provided Sharon with the space for the hub she needed to establish the group.
The 41-year-old said that one of the key issues surrounding support for kids with autism is the lack of support for parents.
She said: “Who asks the parents how they are? When you have an autistic child who doesn’t sleep and it’s 24 hours a day, it’s exhausting. Who asks if they are okay?
“For example, Cody hates shopping but sometimes we have to go shopping. When we go he runs around, and makes noises. I can see people looking at him and muttering under their breath. Even when he’s wearing his sunflower lanyard, they don’t understand.
“At the hub, we’re hoping to offer peer support, and a place parents can come to share tips and advice or just let each other know it’s okay.”
Support sessions will be held every last Saturday of the month at the Lifespring Centre in Sherwood Drive, New Ollerton.