AN AUTISM charity this week opened an office in Galashiels and will offer outreach support to adults with the condition across the Borders, writes Sally Gillespie.
Autism Initiatives Scotland already offers housing help in the region and is now helping anyone on the autism spectrum aged 16 and over generally.
Service manager Luan Easingwood said: “Currently there is very little on offer in terms of autism-specific support for adults living in the Borders. The outreach support we can provide will enable people with autism to access their community and join in activities and other opportunities which interest them.”
MSP Christine Grahame opened the new office in Ladhope Vale on Monday.
She said: “I’m delighted to be here at the launch of this much-needed autism service. There has been a gap in autism-specific services for people in the Borders and it is great that their needs are being met. Autism Initiatives are providing an innovative service which has the flexibility to meet the needs of local people with autism and help them to access and become valued members of the local community.”
The outreach work will be offered from the new office.
And one local with Asperger Syndrome the charity has been giving outreach support to over the last few months said: “I’m delighted with the service I receive from Autism Initiatives. I feel that I am actively listened to, my views are sought and, most importantly, are acted upon. I have also formed a very positive working relationship with my support worker.”
As well as their outreach service, Autism Initiatives successful Number 6, a ‘one-stop shop’ based in Edinburgh, is being extended to the Borders.
The service is available to people aged 16 and over with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism and will see those interested going along to activities and social groups at the new office, which will also be the venue for regular meetings of support groups.
Meanwhile, the charity’s Number 6 staff in Edinburgh are organising a trip to the Borders to offer an opportunity for new and current members of Number 6 to meet and socialise on August 23.
And Borders staff are holding a coffee morning in Galashiels’ Trinity Church from 10am-2pm on August 11 for anyone interested in finding out more about the charity’s local services.
For further information, call Autism Initiatives Scotland on 0131 551 7260 or visit www.autisminitiatives.org