This month sees Options Autism host its annual Inclusive Festival in Scunthorpe where it will welcome families affected by autism as well as the wider local community.
Organised by Options Autism, part of Outcomes First Group – the national provider of care and education to children, young people and adults with autism – the festival aims to raise awareness of autism, to fundraise and help integrate members of the community.
Taking place within the grounds of Options Roxby House, the festival will be carefully laid out to avoid overwhelming those with sensory difficulties and include calm, relaxing areas which visitors can make use of if they need to take some time out.
Games have been thoughtfully selected to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote a sense of achievement – such as tin can alley, where everyone is a winner.
The stall holders understand how autism and learning difficulties affect individuals and their families and how to best accommodate their needs.
This may mean allowing extra time to process information when speaking and listening or being patient so that those with additional needs can count money at their own pace or make decisions and choices in their own time.
This is a festival with a difference – though it will still feature the usual offerings of live entertainment, a barbeque, bar and a range of exciting stalls including arts and craft activities, face painting and glitter tattoos and treats.
There will also be bouncy castles, crazy golf, a photo booth, a circus workshop, a gymnastics show and singers, as well as family-friendly raffle prizes to be won.
The barbeque caters for vegetarians and there will be gluten free options available – food intolerances or allergies are a common feature of autism and this is another small detail that can make all the difference to a family day out.
Options Autism Ambassador, Anna Kennedy OBE, will be coming along to the event to present a talk on her journey as a parent of children with autism, how she set up schools for young people on the autism spectrum and all about her inspirational charity Anna Kennedy Online, which aims to support individuals with autism and raise awareness around the world.
The event takes place on August 12.