We launched an appeal last month urging our supporters to join in the FESTIVE FUN by posting elf-themed selfies on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope the appeal will raise £50,000 to help replicate our successful toddler group that is based at our North East Centre for Autism, Newton Aycliffe to other towns across the North East.

Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager for NEAS said; “Parents can often find accessing mainstream toddler groups extremely difficult. Autism is a hidden condition so others may think a child is being naughty or has bad behaviour when in fact they may be finding it difficult to cope in the group or communicate their needs.

Children with autism perceive the world differently through their senses, for example a toddler may be hypersensitive to noise so being in a group with other children who are loud or crying may make them anxious even resulting in the noise causing them pain. Because children with autism find it difficult to communicate, they can become disruptive but it’s their way of expressing themselves. This can leave parents very anxious and feel as if they are being judged.”

Kerrie Hightcock with Lucas Robertson

Caroline Robertson, mother to Lucus aged 3 who attends the toddler group said; “The group has helped Lucus to socialise with other children, he’s a happy little boy and growing in confidence. Having trained staff on hand allows me to have a break and get advice from other parents.”

To help us develop our toddler group take an ‘elfie selfie’ either by downloading an app or by dressing up. Upload it on to Facebook or Twitter, tag in the North East Autism Society and nominate your friends.

Donations can be made by texting elfi14 followed by desired donation amount, such as £3 to 70070.

For further details about the toddler group service email Kerrie Highcock or call 0191 410 9974