Appaws for Autism - What we stand for, Our Aims and Objectives

We set up our organisation due to the lack of effective health, social and educational services for people living with and dealing with autism. We are based in Fife but we support families all over Scotland and UK.

‘APPAWS’ stands for;

  • take a moment ‘pause’ to think about autism and what it means, and
  • our Logo is a dog’s paw which indicates the work we will be doing with autism assistance/therapy dogs.

We started our support group up last October and now have over 450 members and growing rapidly. Our website is launched and we are now a Company Ltd by Guarantee Company No.SC506545 and a Registered Scottish Charity, SC046114.

Our families have to fight on a daily basis for what is a basic human right for their child/adult with ASD. We would like to point out what is not working effectively and the areas in which we aim to change.

  1. Inclusion in mainstream schools. No mandatory training for teachers and support staff.
  2. No actual autistic experts or autistic speakers being brought in to facilitate and teach the educators.
  3. Children are suffering on a daily basis as are their parents. (mental health issues, exclusion..)
  4. No calming areas within most schools. No classroom adaptations.
  5. Parents are waiting too long for assessments, diagnosis, and support from health and social care.
  6. No after school facilities for ASD children at all.
  7. Very few autism friendly places available for families to visit and enjoy.
  8. Support and advocacy are virtually non existent for ASD families.
  9. Emergency services, shops, businesses, community centres and restaurants have no basic informative means of supporting families with children/adults who have ASD. Training and educating is paramount to raising the bar on autism awareness and acceptance.
  10. There is no facility anywhere in Scotland which caters for ASD families to have assistance dogs. There is also no funding available for them.

These are just a fraction of what is fundamentally wrong or unavailable within society as a whole for people with an ASD.

The difference we make to families is we never close! We are open for support and advice 24/7, 365 days a week. I can be on the phone and messaging parents at the same time. I can also be up till 3am in the morning supporting parents in crisis. It could be be listening or advising or directing them on a pathway that could help them. Due to the lack of proper facilities we want our families to have somewhere to go where they are not stared at, not getting abuse, not being judged and not being discriminated against. This is everyday life sadly for many of our families. I feel they deserve and have the right to a life beyond these rejections and judgments. People with an ASD deserve to be who they want to be, and our motto at Appaws is ‘Be your own kind of Wonderful‘.

We need to have the resources to support these families effectively so we are looking for a centre we can use on a weekly basis and weekends for families to use. There will be information available, coffee and relaxing area, sensory room, computer room & games room, support & advice lines, arts and crafts, sports, drama and music therapy and a room for adults with ASD to visit for their own recreation. We know this is a much needed facility and families are crying out for this. In the future we would hope to have our own land where we can have ponies, petting farm, our own breeding programme for our assistance dogs, our own Occupational Health Therapist, our own ASD assessor and Speech and Language Therapist and volunteers to work within the house and on the grounds. We are struggling to support our families at the moment as we have virtually no funds and families are suffering. We also need to put a programme together on our autism friendly basic information pack for the services advised above.(We are now working with Fife Council, Fife Education and Autism Champions and CHP to bring about a campaign.) Such a simple outing of taking an ASD child to have their feet measured can be draining, exhausting and traumatic for a child and their parent. if places like this had basic and fundamental information and training , things could be so much easier and acceptable.

Different, not less
Temple Grandin
Be Your own Kind of Wonderful
Carol Chisholm