Dotty is 6 years old and has been coming to SELFA since March 2018. She attends our weekly club SELFA Starters which aims to support 4-7 year olds to develop their social skills such as sharing, listening and turn-taking as well as our school holiday activities. Dotty’s parents heard about SELFA through a local carer’s charity as Dotty is on the autistic spectrum. Although Dotty attends a local mainstream school she requires help to engage with the curriculum and is supported by the staff within her class.
Dotty has an Educational Health and Care Plan which helps the staff at SELFA understand her autism and how we can support her. She has no sense of danger so lots of supervision is needed to keep her safe. Dotty also requires lots of support to help her prepare for what is happening so that she is able to watch and observe her peers first before joining in at her own pace.
Although Dotty has only been coming to SELFA for a relatively short time her parents have already noticed that she has become more independent. For example, Dotty is able to approach an adult and communicate if she needs help. She is much more confident in approaching new people to make new friends.
Dotty’s parents also feel that SELFA has helped her social skills to progress. Her father commented:
“We feel that the group work Dotty has done has helped advance her social skills which are always a help to both Dotty and other kids. It’s a massive boost to Dotty’s confidence.”
Dotty’s parents explain that although Dotty is at times still very much inside her own shell, she loves coming to SELFA, and by attending SELFA Starters and taking part in the summer school holiday programme it has helped her to build up her self-esteem. Dotty is much more willing to have a go and try new things she will observe the people around her first and when she feels ready she will now get fully involved.
SELFA also aims to support the whole family and by providing a short break every week during term time and 2 days a week during school holidays the family have benefitted by having some time and space on their own. Her father explains:
“The main thing SELFA has helped with is a little extra down time for mum and dad … this time is essential and it always will be.”
Lucy Short, Activity Coordinator for SELFA, talks fondly about Dotty:
“Dotty is a really valuable member of SELFA Starters and the 4-7 holiday activities. Throughout her time with us so far, it has been great to see how much progress she has made. SELFA has provided Dotty with the opportunity to make new friends and develop her independence and through these positive relationships her self-esteem has increased. These new skills will support her in day to day life. She is a wonderfully happy girl who always arrives with a smile on her face. I enjoy working with her and look forward to watching her thrive as she grows older at SELFA.”