Yesterday we spoke to Autism Friendly match sponsors Gibbs Steel Fabrication to help get an even better grasp of how an autism friendly match can help.
Today we speak to NAS Wrexham who have partnered with the Wrexham DSA and Wrexham AFC to lift this idea off the ground.
We asked them some questions about the impact this will have.
1. Can you tell the supporters of Wrexham AFC a little bit about NAS Wrexham branch?
NAS Wrexham is a local branch of the National Autistic Society, we are run by volunteers and raise all of our own funds. We organise Autism friendly events, raise awareness, social groups, signpost, fundraise, training and information sessions, speak with politicians and health professionals to try and improve services in our local area.
The events are important to our members, in a closed setting parents and children can relax in their environment and not feel judged by others that don’t understand. Our events are normally free so that families can trial a new activity without the worry of cost if it doesn’t work out, siblings are welcome too. We also offer autistic adults the chance to socialise, we have a group of volunteers who organise a monthly session at a venue chosen by the group.
2. How did NAS Wrexham become involved with the Autism Friendly football match against FC Halifax Town?
About 5 years ago a local parent with the help of Wrexham AFC and DSA Wrexham organised an Autism Friendly football match which was a huge success. This was not repeated again and as we are always on the lookout for new activities for our members we got in touch with DSA Wrexham, we have had many email conversations and meetings that led up to the next Autism friendly match this Saturday against FC Halifax Town.
3. What are your feelings about the club being involved in such an activity?
I think it’s important that Autism has been recognised by the club and they have been able to offer local families the opportunity to go along and take part in what other families do without the worry of what others around them may think. It is important that the club is able to remove barriers that might stop someone from attending a match and cheering on their local team.
3. What difference do you believe that the autism friendly match will make to the families that get involved?
Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability, events such as these are important to both Autistic children and adults, with careful planning we have been able to give advance information of what to expect, photos of where to park and where to sit etc., the knowledge that if needed they will be able to leave the ground and seek quietness, volunteers helping to guide and support, all this helps to reduce anxiety and goes someway to giving those with Autism a chance to experience something new.
5. Have you anything extra you would like to include?
I personally would like to thank everyone at Wrexham AFC and DSA Wrexham who have made this event possible, I am taking this opportunity to attend this event as a family, something I would never have thought we would be doing. It will be a challenge, my autistic daughter likes to pace up and down, doesn’t like noise and not keen on having to sit for long periods of time.
You may wonder why we are bothering, please remember we are a family, her sibling is extremely excited to be able to attend, we sometimes have to push boundaries otherwise we will never know what it possible, and this event is giving us the confidence to try something new.