New group supporting children and adults with autism through social activities

Joanna Corbyn, right, with her autistic daughter Darcie, four, and Dee Smith, and her autistic son H

Joanna Corbyn, right, with her autistic daughter Darcie, four, and Dee Smith, and her autistic son Harry, four, at Norwich Castle. Mrs Corbyn helped form the new NAS Norwich group to support children and adults with autism, as well as their carers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

It is a condition which often prevents children, adults and families enjoying everyday activities and days out.

But thanks to a group of pioneering parents, people with autism and their carers can take part in social get-togethers and activity sessions.

The NAS Norwich Group, part of the National Autistic Society, was formed by Joanna Corbyn, 37, from Garrick Green in Old Catton, Norwich.

Mrs Corbyn's four-year-old daughter, Darcie, has severe autism and does not speak as a result.

She is part of a four-strong committee, made up of parents of children with the lifelong developmental disability.

The charity is already supporting 162 people, young and old, by offering autism-friendly activity sessions and social gatherings.

Mrs Corbyn, group chairman, said: 'We are putting on events that families and people with autism might not have previously accessed or felt comfortable doing in the past.

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'Me and my friends were at a loss at weekends at what to do with our children [who have autism] as it can be difficult when you are sometimes made to feel uncomfortable or that you need to leave after people make comments. Having these activities means people can be relaxed.

'We are trying to make people more aware and accepting of autism. People also need to see the whole spectrum of autism rather than putting autistic people into one category.'

She helped initiate Norwich Castle and City Hall being lit up in pink and purple in March to mark World Autism Day.

It was after that the idea of the group was formed.

The NAS Norwich Group will officially launch on September 22 at Chapel Break Village Hall in Bowthorpe.

A family fun day, from 1-4pm, will raise money for a Halloween and Christmas party for group members. Anyone can come to the fundraiser.

'A Christmas party is important because it is a time when families are financially stretched and Halloween can be overwhelming,' Mrs Corbyn added.

As well as organising activities the group offers support to people about living with autism and liaise with visitor attractions on becoming autism-friendly.

Search NAS Norwich Group on Facebook.