Team Aspie won £2000 of Good Neighbour funding during the 2016 campaign.
What is Team Aspie?
Team Aspie is a group for teenagers with Aspergers syndrome. It’s a time to socialise, have fun, learn skills and spread awareness and acceptance.
Started in September 2014 with three kids, numbers have grown steadily and 2 years on from that first night Team Aspie now has over 50 kids and counting, the majority travelling 10+ miles to attend, even as far as Belfast.
The group meets every fortnight and in the past 2 years Team Aspie have managed to send the the kids surfing, crafting, gaming and bowling to name a few. They have had movie quizzes, made things to sell for fundraising, hosted stalls, went to Comic Con, held social skills workshops, career and information nights for kids and parents.
In April last year, they helped host a huge Autism Awareness Event in Cookstown (the first in the Mid Ulster area) where many different support agencies attended and informed parents about services available to them and their children’s siblings.
This year Team Aspie held a huge and exciting event in April called ‘ASD: A Spectacular Display’ where they had amazing singers, martial artists, musicians and dancers amongst the kids that performed, helped with the posters and publicity and helped back stage with costumes, make up and props. Check out Team Aspie’s facebook page where you’ll see the event in action!
Why should Team Aspie receive a donation from the Good Neighbour programme?
Team Aspie has gone from strength to strength and is the only group of its kind around for teenagers on the Autism spectrum. The group was primarily was set up to support these teens and tweens, but through our work it has helped parents, families, inform schools and the local community. They work tirelessly at coming up with ideas and projects for the kids and recently staged a concert in the Burnavon Theatre celebrating and also raising awareness of the amazing kids and the skills and talents they possess.
This team is really pro active. As well as providing a social arena for kids that find aspects of socialising and comunicating difficult, they also provide support, nurture talents and promote mindfulness and healthy life skills. In addition, the group promotes a love and respect for self.
This project is completely voluntary, offering an opportunity for young people and supporting families to socialise and learn new skills that they would not necessarily avail of in other situations due to their disability. It has become a lifeline for some families.
A mother of an Asperbergers teenager has offered: “I cannot begin to tell you the positive impact that this group has had on my awesome, intelligent, beautiful son Ben and the many other teens who attend. When you receive a diagnosis for your child especially in early teens, it can be quite daunting and a worrying time for what the future holds. The group simply offers hope – a hope of friendship, a hope of support and a hope of a brighter future full of opportunities for our children.”
The aim of Team Aspie is to help kids and their parents to accept and celebrate their Aspergers. They insist the parent attends too; the kids get on about their business and the parents drink tea, chat and relax – this they feel is important for the parents and has meant that a strong support network has formed amongst them. The kids themselves make a lot of the decisions; the group don’t force anyone to do anything, but do encourage a ‘have a go’ attitude.
Their motto is ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’, and they, as a team, achieve, support, promote, inspire and empower.
What could Team Aspie use the money for?
Team Aspie meets every 2 weeks and nobody is ever charged an entrance fee, even though there are refreshments and entertainment provided. They have given the kids so many experiences and have rarely charged anything. This money can go towards many days out and experiences and also training and life skills sessions.
The sky is the limit for what Team Aspie could use the Good Neighbour funding for: team building days, music workshops, art workshops, drama workshops, dance workshops, cooking schools, surfing, equipment for computer coding, animation and film making; helping to find new premises; helping educate children in life skills and funding for courses tutors.