Q – What is Empathy for special children?
Empathy was established in 2010 by a small group of like minded parents to combat the isolation of growing up with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or additional needs. The organisation remains parent run and lead.
Q – What does Empathy do?
We aim to improve the lives of families living with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or additional needs through provision of regular social activities.
Q — Who can attend an Empathy session?
Any family with a child aged 0 –18 years, having or suspected of having a high functioning autistic spectrum disorder or related condition (ASD, HFA, Aspergers, ADHD, Dyspraxia, selective mutism, semantic pragmatic disorder to name but a few).
Q — Does my child need a diagnosis?
Absolutely not ! As parents we understand just how difficult it can be to get your child’s difficulties formally recognised. We also know that you know your child best and if you have concern enough to need the group then you that’s good enough for us.
Q — Can I drop my child off at a session ?
No, other than Unleashed, our ethos is one of family support and whilst we have play leaders at every session we cannot provide care for any child.
Q — We have had bad experiences in the past, why might Empathy be different ?
We can make no guarantee that Empathy will suit your child or family; whilst our children’s common areas of difficulty bind them together they do not remove their individuality and each child with asd remains as unique as their neurotypical counterparts. However at Empathy we work very hard to meet the needs of our special children first and as parents ourselves we understand not only the difficulties your family faces in access something new and social but also the concerns you have. We do not ask that that you book before you attend an Empathy friendship group however if you contact us before you attend not only can we have a discussion with you (the expert on your family) but also provide you with some further material and information that we hope both eases some of that transition anxiety and give you the confidence as a family to take that first big leap of faith
Q — Ours is not a standard family unit, can we attend?
Of course your family is welcome whatever it’s shape or size. If you have extended family members, friends or neighbours that either support you or make you feel more comfortable in attending then for us they are a part of your family unit and are welcome to attend with you.
Q — Is there a cost ?
Holiday activities are variable but will not exceed £20 / family. The first session of a family friendship group is free, thereafter the cost is £5/ Family/ session. Finances is the barrier we can most easily remove and therefore if cost is an issue, please talk to us in complete confidence.
Q – I don’t have transport, can you help ?
Unfortunately we cannot provide transport to either the groups or the pick up points for holiday activities, however if transport is an issues please talk to us and we will do all we can to help you resolve the situation.
Q — My child does not see themselves as having a disability and therefore will not attend.
We don’t have the answer but this is a common thread with all of our special children; their hidden disability means they spend much of there time normalising themselves.
Empathy has taken the decision to become a specific high functioning group to overcome this barrier. Whilst in the south is population is more diverse, on the whole at any Empathy session your child will simply meet more children like them and their siblings. Please call us if this is a specific problem for your family.