You may recall that I recently complained that there were little or no sources of support for adults on the autistic spectrum in Thanet. You might also remember that I vowed that I would do something about that.
I have not been idle.
Just recently I had the honour of attending my first ever Liberal Democrat Conference. It was a great experience overall but a little stressful when things did not go exactly according to plan. However I coped in no small part thanks to the support of very many friendly people.
Some of those friendly Lib Dems happened to have a background in mental health care. One such Lib Dem suggested the very thing I had been thinking of - simply starting with an informal meet up and seeing where things go.
Mike, that was the Lib Dem's name, also gave me an overview of how mental health services tend to be organised and what it takes to get things set up. Step one is to establish evidence of a need. Which a regular social gathering would do.
Thus, I propose: TWASM - Thanet Weekly Autistic Spectrum Meetup. (The first order of business might be to come up with a better name).
The aim of this group is to provide a social and supporting network for those on the Autistic spectrum and their carers. This will be an informal regular gathering at one or more locations in the Thanet area. My hope is that as we connect with others who have similar needs we can build our own infrastructure of services because, let's be honest, no one is going to do it for us.
If we later find that we need to campaign for better support we can rest assured that Thanet's Lib Dems will be there to back us up (and, I hope, many other fair minded folks).
I am interested in hearing from anyone whose life has been affected by the Autistic Spectrum (in any way) as to where, when and how frequently you would like to get together.
I am thinking that our first gathering should be somewhere low key and easy to find. It should probably only go on for an hour or so. Also important is that it should be relatively easy for one of us to slip away if things feel a bit overwhelming.
If you are on Facebook then there is a new group you can join. It is a private group so discussions can only been seen by group members - this is so we can all feel safe talking about our needs. Thanet Autistic Spectrum Support (TASS) is open to anyone who is or thinks they might be, to some degree, on the spectrum, dyspraxic or just social awkward. It is also open to all those that care for or wish to support those of us that are.