DASH

Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness

 Reg charity no: 1116852

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Activities & Services

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DASH Social Groups:

Volunteering:

Services:

Activities: DASH Social Groups

For more information & access to all the social groups described below please email: contactdashswindon@gmail.com or telephone: 07554 665 715 or go to the resources & links page and download an enquiry form

The Young Adult (18 - 30) Social Group

The group meets on Monday evenings at the Oasis Leisure Centre between 6pm and 9pm. It is available for both young men and women. There are two groups - running from 6pm-8pm and 7pm-9pm. Badminton is played at 7pm for those who wish to play. As an alternative to badminton, some group members like to play board games, read books or generally socialize. During the summer months we like to run a bar-b-q afternoon or, if enough interest, an away-day at the coast.

Every December we have an end of year Christmas dinner on the last Monday before Christmas Day.

The group runs every Monday except Bank Holidays. 

It is the aim of the group to nurture self confidence and help social skills to develop. We hope that forming friendships in the group will help members to organize their own social activities outside of the group.

Members say:

People understand me

The DASH group is full of fun and friendly people who all get on well and really enjoy themselves

It's helped me to feel more confident about meeting people

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The Young Women's group

This is a new group set up in response to a small number of young women who contacted DASH about the same time via the information and advice service to enquire about social opportunities - but without the confidence to immediately join the young adult social group.

It was decided that a group would help the young women with:

  • Understanding the adult world or life
  • Relationships
  • Behaviour
  • Friendships
  • Communications by:
  • Meeting new people
  • Learning new skills
  • Having discussion
  • Learning to co-operate
  • Having fun

Activities that might help include:

  • Art and crafts- card making, drawing pictures, painting etc
  • Sewing- making things beautiful things that I can use
  • Cookery- simple stuff
  • Jewellery making- all girls love jewels
  • Running a budget and life skills
  • Acting and writing a script

All of these things are intended to enable the women who attend to begin to relax in the company of others, and help them to prepare for employment, college or voluntary work.

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The Men's group

This is an established fortnightly daytime group for men of any age to meet up and engage in practical craft activities and woodwork in a fully equipped workshop. There is also a kitchen for occasional cooking and baking for those with an interest. It is a safe place for meeting others and helping reduce isolation whilst doing something useful. It is held on Wednesday afternoons and facilitated by 2 experienced DASH staff.

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The Women’s Group

This group was set up to support the activities of Swindon Wildflower Nursery to help raise funds for DASH social groups – and also as a social group for women with Aspergers or who care for a child or partner with Aspergers. The hope is to provide a safe, supportive and sociable environment for women to meet, talk and work together in a therapeutic environment. The group is currently on hiatus but if you think you might be interested in this activity please contact us.

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New Monthly social group

This group is being piloted in response to adults with Aspergers for whom other DASH groups are not appropriate because they are in employment or because they are ready to '‘move on'’. A 6 month 'What’s On' programme is publicized in advance and ranges from walks and the theatre, to curry nights and pub quizzes. People can ‘dip in nnd out according to their interests and are invited to help plan the subsequent programme. DASH staff help organize and attend the events. People are invited to meet up with a staff member individually if they wish, before attending their first event, to gain the confidence to come along.

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The Allotment Group

This group meets every Wednesday 1.30 – 3.30pm throughout the year. It helps individuals diagnosed with Aspergers or awaiting assessment to break their isolation and engage in purposeful activity in a safe, quiet and supportive environment. A range of tasks are available to suit everyone – indoors and outdoors – from physical work such as digging and cutting back vegetation to grass cutting, planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables, flowers and their seeds, potting up and dead-heading, as well as sorting seeds - requiring good hand skills and patience! No horticultural experience is needed to join the group. Every activity contributes to the maintenance and development of Swindon Wildflower Nursery - itself raising funds for DASH by selling wildflower plants to the public and creating popular wedding favours from surplus seeds. We also welcome independent volunteers to the allotments group, including parent carers to enable them to also benefit from the therapeutic value of this wonderful oasis of calm.

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Volunteering with DASH

How you can make a difference!

Volunteers can make a great contribution to DASH by:

  • directly helping adults with Aspergers to develop their self confidence, improve their work and social skills and enjoy social and occupational activities;

  • fund-raising;

  • helping to manage DASH as an organization - to plan how sustain and develop it’s services in meeting local needs and to have it’s voice heard.

In return Volunteers can expect to feel valued, develop their own skills, increase their knowledge and understanding, encourage communication between people, feel good about themselves and offer trust and satisfaction to others.

If you would like to become a volunteer with DASH you are welcome to try a 'taster' session or two before making a decision to offer a regular commitment. And in this way DASH can also make sure that we can support you appropriately as a volunteer.

Volunteers are welcome to help in:

  • any of our groups depending upon their interests;

  • the Information & Advice Service to undertake administrative, receptionist and/or IT tasks;

  • DASH management group to help steer the work of DASH either as a time limited project or as a trustee serving at least 1 year on the committee with specific skills to offer.

For further information about all of these opportunities, including role/task descriptions please contact DASH secretary on contactdashswindon@gmail.com, telephone 07554 665 715 or download a volunteers application form.

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Services

The Swindon Autism Information & Advice Service - Autism Matters

The Swindon Autism Information & Advice Service opened it's doors at Pinetrees Community Centre on May 20th 2013 for a 12 month pilot to gauge if there is a need and a demand for such a local service. Latest national statistics suggest that 1 in a 100 people will have an autistic spectrum condition which translates in Swindon to around 2,000 people.

The service has developed since 2013 and we have recently received Big Lottery funding to widen the scope of information and provide more 1-2-1 time with people who need advice. The service is called Autism Matters and more details can be found on our home page or at Swindon Autism Information and Advice Service - Autism Matters

DASH is also able to monitor patterns of enquiries and we feed this information back to the Swindon Adult Autism Partnership Board to help improve access to services or address gaps in services.

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Interpersonal Skills

For people who receive a diagnosis of Aspergers when they are an adult, it may feel very confusing to be told that they have a lifelong condition that hasn't been recognized until then. On the other hand, learning about Aspergers might mean that their life experiences suddenly make sense. It may be that they have experienced specific difficulties for many years without understanding why. And they may feel that these difficulties have adversely impacted upon their personal and social life, their education and opportunities for work.

For this reason DASH offers opportunities to discuss with the information and advice service what it means to have Aspergers and how to build on individual strengths and talents to move forward.

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© DASH, Sanford House, Sanford Street, Swindon SN1 1HE