Aspergers support group in Middleton Cheney needs votes for £25,000 sensory room

Karen Irvani NNL-150120-112836001
Karen Irvani NNL-150120-112836001

A support group for parents with children with Aspergers in Middleton Cheney is appealing to Banbury Guardian readers to vote to help it win up to £25,000 for a state-of-the-art ‘digital zone’.

Parents Talking Aspergers (PTA) has been given approval by Aviva Community Fund to apply for the grant.

Founder Karen Irvani said the money would pay for the conversion of a stable block at the PTA headquarters, allowing the digital equipment to be installed and used.

Local residents are asked to vote for the project at community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-4819 before the deadline next Tuesday, November 21.

“The Sensory Community Zone would be a fully converted, digital room enabled to project up to 800 different and interactive scenes onto the walls and floor,” said Mrs Irvani, who started PTA in 2012.

“It will encourage users to take turns and be socially imaginative – key activities people with autism generally find difficult.

“When created it will be available for hire by local schools that include young people with autism.”

The money would be spent on converting the old stable block at the Baptist Church in Middleton.

Mrs Irvani said: “Autism is a case of being wired differently, not wrongly. Generally, people with the condition experience difficulties with social communication, social understanding and social imagination.

“Five years ago, I was an autism mum who didn’t know another parent in a similar situation, and more importantly, my son, then 13, didn’t know another young person like him,” said Mrs Irvani.

“It took ten long years to get a diagnosis – to understand why family life couldn’t as I’d always dreamed it would be.

“It was lonely, confusing and at times, despairing. I set up PTA. Today, PTA is a nationally recognised, voluntary autism support group run primarily by autism parents who want to help others like them.

“We run clubs, offer online and phone support and also represent parents in meetings to help them navigate the nightmare process.”