PARENTS and carers with children who suffer from an often misunderstood problem have stepped up their efforts for greater understanding.
The North Warwickshire Branch of Asperger’s United offers help, support and advice to families affected by the illness.
But it has also set out to raise awareness of what is often described as a ‘hidden’ disability.
The branch holds monthly coffee mornings at the Guideposts Community Cafe in Nuneaton.
Their next one at the cafe in Church Street is this Thursday morning when anyone affected by Asperger’s is invited to go along.
Sarah Saunders, branch vice-chairman said: “Our members are committed to offering advice and support to each other from knowledge gained through their own very real and often difficult experiences.
“But there are lots of other parents and carers out there who are struggling to cope and our message is: ‘You are not alone!’ “We are there to offer help and support and often just a reassuring ear.”
Asperger’s Syndrome sits at the top end of the autism spectrum.
People with it look and sound like everyone else, but they find it difficult to understand the meaning of words and gestures.
They cannot express their thoughts and desires and that can lead to unpredictability, displays of anger and anti-social behaviour.
“A child can go into meltdown and people do not understand what is happening,” said Sarah Saunders.
“They immediately think ‘he’s a naughty boy’ and we have had instances where the police have been called.
“We also know of cases where parents have stopped their children from playing with ones who have Asperger’s.
“It can be so lonely being a parent of a child who suffers from the disorder which is why the support group was formed.
“Parents can come along and relax with people who share and understand the problem and provide a shoulder.”
The local branch of Asperger’s United covers Nuneaton, Bedworth, Atherstone and the whole of North Warwickshire.
Group support meetings are held at Fife Street Working Men’s Club in Nuneaton on the second Monday of each month, starting at 8pm, and the coffee mornings in the Church Street cafe on the last Thursday of each month between 10am and 12 noon.
Anyone who needs further information can call 07580 522 338 or email email@example.com