Lots of help and support available in community

Guardian columnist Jo Worgan
Guardian columnist Jo Worgan

This week I am using my column to focus upon all of the support that is available within the local area.

I clearly remember, as a mum of a newly diagnosed child with autism, only four years ago that feeling of shock and wondering what on earth we were going to do.

The message I want to get across is that help is out there, you just need to look for it.

Luckily for us we found support and early intervention from our local children’s centre and peer support group AOK, also based at the Children’s Centre in Lune Park. This group still runs today, every Tuesday afternoon, as do many others within the local community.

You can gain information regarding caring for any child with any additional needs by going to the North Lancashire Directions Group (NLDG) website.

More specifically within the sphere of autism, the National Autistic Society (NAS) also has a local branch that meets once a month at Firbank Children’s Centre.

The message I want to get across is that help is out there, you just need to look for it. Next week is Autism Awareness Week and April is Autism Awareness month. I feel that there is now more help for families caring for a child with autism than ever before.

More importantly though, I feel that you need to accept the help and support when it is offered. I struggled with this to be honest, but joint groups and chatting to other parents going through similar situations was the best thing I ever did.

Life can be tough, especially during those early years, but by having a sense of humour and receiving help and chatting to other parents, you most definitely will feel less alone.

Anyway I want to leave you by telling you this. Tom got out of the taxi the other night, on his return from school, and I went to meet him as usual. Unbeknown to me, he had seen a lady with her little girl, walking three small dogs on the bank of grass in front of our house. He ran from the car and went straight up to the lady and put his hand into her coat pocket.

While rummaging around inside her pocket, he asked, “I feed the dog. Where the food?” Luckily she saw the funny side.