DASH

 Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness

 Reg charity no: 1116852

                        

  

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Activities & Services

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DASH Social Groups:

Volunteering:

Services:

Activities: DASH Social Groups

For more information & access to all the social groups described below please email: contactdashswindon@gmail.com or telephone: 07554 665 715 or go to the resources & links page and download a social group application form

The Young Adult (18 – 25) Social Group

The Young Adult Social Group is held every Monday evening at the Oasis Leisure Centre for both young men and women. There is always an option to play badminton, pool, table tennis and/or cards or just simply chat together over a drink. In addition, other activities are organized on occasional week-ends such as 10 pin bowling, day trips, evening meals. There is a small weekly charge to help cover costs.

The group is facilitated by both male and female staff.

It is the aim of the group to not only enable friendships to form, but to also enable self confidence and social skills to develop. The forming of friendships in turn enables members of the group to organize their own social activities outside of the group.

 

Members say:

“People understand me”

“The DASH group is full of fun and friendly people who all get on well and really enjoy themselves”

“It's helped me to feel more confident about meeting people”

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The Young Women’s group

This is a new group set up in response to a small number of young women who contacted DASH about the same time via the information and advice service to enquire about social opportunities - but without the confidence to immediately join the young adult social group.

It was decided that a group would help the young women with:

  • Understanding the adult world or life
  • Relationships
  • Behaviour
  • Friendships
  • Communications by:
  • Meeting new people
  • Learning new skills
  • Having discussion
  • Learning to co-operate
  • Having fun

Activities that might help include:

  • Art and crafts- card making, drawing pictures, painting etc
  • Sewing- making things beautiful things that I can use
  • Cookery- simple stuff
  • Jewellery making- all girls love jewels
  • Running a budget and life skills
  • Acting and writing a script

All of these things are intended to enable the women who attend to begin to relax in the company of others, and help them to prepare for employment, college or voluntary work.

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The Men’s group

This is an established fortnightly daytime group for men of any age to meet up and engage in practical craft activities and woodwork in a fully equipped workshop. There is also a kitchen for occasional cooking and baking for those with an interest. It is a safe place for meeting others and helping reduce isolation whilst doing something useful. It is held on Wednesday afternoons and facilitated by 2 experienced DASH staff.

 

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The Women’s Group

This group was set up to support the activities of Swindon Wildflower Nursery to help raise funds for DASH social groups – and also as a social group for women with Aspergers or who care for a child or partner with Aspergers. The hope is to provide a safe, supportive and sociable environment for women to meet, talk and work together in a therapeutic environment. The group is currently on hiatus but if you think you might be interested in this activity please contact us.

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New Monthly social group

This group is being piloted in response to adults with Aspergers for whom other DASH groups are not appropriate because they are in employment or because they are ready to ‘move on’. A 6 month ‘What’s On’ programme is publicized in advance and ranges from walks and the theatre, to curry nights and pub quizzes. People can ‘dip’ in and out according to their interests and are invited to help plan the subsequent programme. DASH staff help organize and attend the events. People are invited to meet up with a staff member individually if they wish, before attending their first event, to gain the confidence to come along.

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The Allotment Group

This group meets every Wednesday 1.30 – 3.30pm throughout the year. It helps individuals diagnosed with Aspergers or awaiting assessment to break their isolation and engage in purposeful activity in a safe, quiet and supportive environment. A range of tasks are available to suit everyone – indoors and outdoors – from physical work such as digging and cutting back vegetation to grass cutting, planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables, flowers and their seeds, potting up and dead-heading, as well as sorting seeds - requiring good hand skills and patience! No horticultural experience is needed to join the group. Every activity contributes to the maintenance and development of Swindon Wildflower Nursery - itself raising funds for DASH by selling wildflower plants to the public and creating popular wedding favours from surplus seeds. We also welcome independent volunteers to the allotments group, including parent carers to enable them to also benefit from the therapeutic value of this wonderful oasis of calm.

 

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Volunteering with DASH

 

How you can make a difference!

 

Volunteers can make a great contribution to DASH by:

  • directly helping adults with Aspergers to develop their self confidence, improve their work and social skills and enjoy social and occupational activities;

  • fund-raising;

  • helping to manage DASH as an organization - to plan how sustain and develop it’s services in meeting local needs and to have it’s voice heard.

In return Volunteers can expect to feel valued, develop their own skills, increase their knowledge and understanding, encourage communication between people, feel good about themselves and offer trust and satisfaction to others.

If you would like to become a volunteer with DASH you are welcome to try a 'taster' session or two before making a decision to offer a regular commitment. And in this way DASH can also make sure that we can support you appropriately as a volunteer.

Volunteers are welcome to help in:

  • any of our groups depending upon their interests;

  • the Information & Advice Service to undertake administrative, receptionist and/or IT tasks;

  • DASH management group to help steer the work of DASH either as a time limited project or as a trustee serving at least 1 year on the committee with specific skills to offer.

For further information about all of these opportunities, including role/task descriptions please contact DASH secretary on contactdashswindon@gmail.com, telephone 07554 665 715 or download a volunteers application form.

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Services

The Swindon Autism Information & Advice Service

The Swindon Autism Information & Advice Service opened it’s doors at Pinetrees Community Centre on May 20th 2013 for a 12 month pilot to gauge if there is a need and a demand for such a local service. Latest national statistics suggest that 1 in a 100 people will have an autistic spectrum condition which translates in Swindon to around 2,000 people.

The service is kept very busy during it’s opening hours - 5 x 2 hour drop in sessions per week (to try and accommodate all circumstances) and enquiries also come in by email and telephone.

Our contact details are on the Swindon Autism Information and Advice Service. Please contact us if we can be of help to you as an adult, child or young person with autism and/or family members, support workers and other professionals and employers.

DASH is also able to monitor patterns of enquiries and if lobbying is needed to improve access to services or address gaps in services then this is also something we can take on.

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Interpersonal Skills

For people who receive a diagnosis of Aspergers when they are an adult, it may feel very confusing to be told that they have a lifelong condition that hasn’t been recognized until then. On the other hand, learning about Aspergers might mean that their life experiences suddenly make sense. It may be that they have experienced specific difficulties for many years without understanding why. And they may feel that these difficulties have adversely impacted upon their personal and social life, their education and opportunities for work.

For this reason DASH offers opportunities to discuss with the information and advice service what it means to have Aspergers and how to build on individual strengths and talents to move forward.

In addition, and in collaboration with LIFT NHS psychology services in Swindon, an Asperger specific stress and mood management course is being piloted (Nov/Dec 2013) ready to roll out in 2014. The course is free and accessible by contacting LIFT direct to register your interest in the course or alternatively download the course booking form and send direct to LIFT as a DASH referral. Free post envelopes are available from DASH and we are hoping to establish an email link with LIFT as well.

This free course explores Asperger’s syndrome, and looks at the different ways it can affect people’s lives. It examines the impact of day to day stresses, anxieties and worries, and teaches helpful techniques which may help to deal with these problems. The 7 week course also looks at ways of effectively communicating with people, and the impact Asperger’s syndrome may have in the workplace. The course is aimed at individuals who have a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, and who may experience any problems with stress, anxiety and communication. It is run by counselling psychologists as members of LIFT, the primary care psychology team.

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© DASH, 284 Marlborough Rd, Swindon SN3 1NR.