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Autism: Mum sets up help group

A mum with autistic children has set up a help group for families and carers to share experiences and to support one another.

Clair Bird, of Fishtoft, has two children on the autistic spectrum, Alex (17) and Sophie (12), and knows from her own experience how stressful and isolating coping with associated difficulties can be.

As well as the issues that autistic children have, parents often have to cope with the judgemental responses from some adults when the children have an episode in public.

Children with autism often have difficulties dealing with a busy world and, super sensitive to sights and sounds, become overwhelmed. Children suffering from "too much information" may have a public "meltdown", misunderstood by others as naughty children misbehaving and poor parents who cannot cope.

Autism can also interfere with communication and the ability to form relationships.

Clair, who has spent years studying and learning about autism, has formed Spectrum Express Boston neuro-diverse support group which meets once a month and is open to all on the autistic spectrum, their families and carers. It is already attracting between ten and 15 families from Boston and Sleaford.

She said: "It will be a chance to share experiences and tips, relax a little and find out about other available resources, services and assisting organisations. Just being able to talk to someone else who understands where you are coming from because they have been there too can be a great comfort."

There will be drop-ins, or those attending can bring their lunch with them and stay awhile. Drinks will be available. Donations will be welcome.

In Clair's case the stresses and strains have brought about other health issues, so she has also formed another help group for those suffering chronic and invisible illnesses. She is hosting once-a-month group support, therapy and workshop sessions.

Clair, who suffers from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and from trapped nerves in her back, said these sessions would focus on relaxation techniques, moral support and friendship.

Her daughter, Sophie, shares her family's interest in the environment and she came up with the idea of forming Eco Warriors Boston.

This group is for families and individuals to get together to explore and improve the natural environment. Events will include bird spotting, bug catching and surveys to picnics, tree planting and litter picking.

They have ideas for environmental and wildlife projects for all ages and abilities.

For more information on all of these contact Clair on 07733 615 402 or email