Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, we have introduced Winter Connections.
We are all spending more time at home now as a result of the pandemic. Most of us are seeing less of our friends and family and may be missing social activities and opportunities to connect with others. The winter months can be challenging, but this year, they are particularly hard.
Winter Connections aims to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing autistic people and their families in Scotland with the opportunity to connect with others.
What's available as part of Winter Connections?
At Scottish Autism we understand that this is a challenging time for autistic people, their friends, family and carers. The Covid-19 outbreak is changing life for all of us, and this can be very stressful. Our advice line team are here to provide emotional and practical support.
We understand that many people may be feeling isolated from loved ones or due to social distancing aren’t able to connect with people like they would usually. Feeling connected is important to us all, our team can be on hand to provide regular conversation via a phone call, an email or even drop a post card in the post.
Contact our Advice Line
Our Advice Line suppports autistic people and their families as well as those who identify as autistic or are currently seeking a diagnosis.
The team is made up a small number of Community Advisors that aim to provide an individualised response to each enquiry as quickly as possible. The team can also signpost to other resources and support services.
Our Advice Line is open:
Tuesday 10am - 7pm (phone line only will remain open until 7pm, LiveChat will close at 4pm)
Wednesday - Friday 10am - 4pm (phone line and LiveChat).
Some of our Winter Connections groups take place weekly, and some take place fortnightly.
Registration is taken for each session independently, make sure you register for each session of the groups you want to join before they fill up!
Online Art Group
Do you want to explore your creative side?
Join our online Art Group taking place every Wednesday, until 31st March, from 5pm-6.30pm.
The Art Group, for autistic people and their families, aims to bring people together for creative expression in an informal and safe environment. It offers the chance for a mindful break from the day’s worries and can help to reduce stress.
The art group will be led by our talented Support Worker Gabriele Gikyte, who has an academic background in art and experience of running a Virtual Art Group in our services in Lothian. Each hour and a half session will explore an abstract but relevant theme which can act as guidance to start off the creative process.
Attendees will be encouraged to view the theme through their own personal lens, brainstorming ideas and searching for ways to best depict their vision.
The first 5 themes we will explore are:
- Here and Now
- Safe place
- The Senses (vision, hearing, touch, smell)
The sessions will run via Zoom so you will need a computer or device with good Wi-Fi. Cameras and microphones are preferred but not compulsory and plese feel free to join in as many sessions as you like.
Join this virtual choir and share music with others in a fun, no pressure environment. People listen to music for many different reasons, it can help you connect to your emotions as well as other people. Music is the one universal thing that connects us all around the world. During the lockdown we hope this group will help you feel less isolated as well as enhance your wellbeing and develop your confidence. The session is suitable for all ranges and abilities so don’t worry if this is your first time singing in a group setting.
The group will meet every Thursday evening 5pm – 6pm using Zoom so we can all sing together from the comfort of our own homes. Feel free to join in even if it’s just to chat and listen to others singing. We will learn a range of songs over the sessions. The songs will be chosen by you and you will be able to submit your favourite song or a song that means something to you when you register for the event
Here are some of the benefits you might experience from joining the group:
- Reduce stress
- Connect with emotions
- Improve memory
- Improve motivation
- Meet new people/build friendships
- Improve breathing
- Have fun
The group began on 4th of February and will end on 25th March. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 15 people so sign up quick!
Register for the next Virtual Choir Session.
Online Gaming Group
Are you an avid gamer? Would you like to connect with other gamers? Then join our Online Gaming Group taking place fortnightly on Monday evenings with Klepto Un1corn starting on 1st February - 29th March from 5pm-9pm. This group is suitable for autistic people aged 18+, we also welcome individuals aged 16+ with parental consent.
Once you join the group, you will embark on a journey with your fellow gamers through the world of ‘A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia’. Learn about life in Scotland during the time of Vikings, whilst journeying to change history and prevent Scotland from being pillaged by the invaders from the East.
So, pull on your chainmail jackets, grab your axe and your shield, string you bow and prepare for war!
If you find yourself alone or isolated during lockdown and want a way to connect with others, then swing by and join in. Through gaming we can stay connected, even if we can’t in person!
To get involved, you must first join the Facebook group here.
Mindful Autism Support Group
Jonny Drury – Mindful Autism Support Group
Every Thursday commencing 28th January until 1st April (excluding 11th February)
Come along to our new Mindful Autism Support Group. The group will be delivered by Jonny Drury an experienced group facilitator, meditator and coach-mentor. He encourages mindfulness meditation as part of a whole system of self-care and personal and professional development.
The group will be running on Thursday's for autistic individuals and their families, aged 18+. Each session will take place via Zoom and they are free to join. The groups are limited to a maximum of 20 people, so don’t miss out!
Bake-a-long with Alan Ferguson
Passion Fruit Tart...sounds delicious doesn’t it?!
Learn how to make your own in a Bake-a-Along with Alan Ferguson, Head Pastry Chef for Buzzworks Holdings Ltd.
On Friday 12th Feb, Alan took us through how to make a passionfruit tart so that you can enjoy a restaurant quality dessert at home.
Online Dance Movement Class
Do you have a passion for dance or enjoy moving to the beat? Come along to our Online Dance Movement Class, starting Sunday 14th February at 11am, running every Sunday until 4th April.
An inclusive dance movement class which aims to build confidence, strengthen co-ordination and allow individuals to connect with each other through movement in a safe and nurturing environment.
Suitable for autistic children age 7-12 years in Scotland. Parents or a sibling are welcome to join for support/encouragement!
Find out more.
Nurture Yoga Class
Come along to our new online 'Nurture Yoga', taking place weekly, beginning on Thursday 11th February until 18th March (6 weeks).
Group 1: 12.20pm - 1.30pm
Group 2: 4.30pm - 5.30pm
Nurture Yoga helps autistic people to reduce stress and anxiety and to reach a place of calm. This in turn can increase self belief and confidence.
There is an expectation for families to attend all sessions in either group 1 or group 2 to get the most out of this Nurture Yoga.
Spaces are limited to 8 families per group.