SPACE4AUTISM was set up by parents in 2005. They are a Voluntary Run Charity and support the “Whole Family” by holding monthly parent support meetings/workshops, events, and clubs for all ages.

They provide a range of clubs, activities and services for children, young people and adults with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and their families. Autism (including Aspergers) is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

People with ASC often have other conditions, such as sensory sensitivity, or mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Some, but not all, will behave in difficult and challenging ways. Because of these challenges, autistic people often struggle to make friends, do well at school, or find appropriate jobs.

Space4Autism plan to use the proceeds to fund the development of a Sensory Space at their new premises on Mill Lane. The Sensory Space will help people with ASC to learn and interact with the world around them in a safe environment that will build their confidence and their social and physical abilities.

They moved to new, larger premises, in September 17 due to increasing demand for their services. They now have greater office and meeting room space, room for a new sensory suite and the opportunity to open a new community café and retail space (staffed by people with ASC).

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As mentioned, these new premises have given Space4Autism the space and the opportunity to build a brand new sensory room to provide people of all ages with space to unwind, play, relax and have fun. There is a large room set aside to provide a facility that will be available for children and adults alike. The room will be used by between 1500 and 2000 people per year and we anticipate around 25% of the users will be adults.

The sensory room will be specially designed to offer a range of stimuli to help individuals to develop and engage their senses. These will include lights, colours, sounds, sensory soft play objects, soft seating areas and aromas all within a safe environment that will allow those using it to explore and interact in a safe environment that will build up their confidence and their social and physical abilities without risk.

There are a whole host of benefits of a sensory room for people with ASC, some of these include:

  • Sensory stimulation – engaging and exploring the sensory environment can have positive effects on a person’s ability to react and interact with the larger world around them
  • Enhance learning and play – following on from this, sensory stimulation can engage different areas of the brain, helping people of all ages absorb and retain more information.
  • Improve balance, movement and spatial orientation – Sensory rooms help develop users’ visual processing abilities as well as their fine and gross motor skills, facilitating day-to-day living.
  • Tackle problems with behaviour – sensory environments can be highly absorbing, providing a moment of comfort and calm for overactive and distressed individuals. This helps people to feel better engaged, improving focus and preventing ‘melt downs’!