What we've been up to this month:

“We discovered talents we didn’t know were in our group. Everyone is opening up like beautiful rose buds!”

So said a youth worker at Waddon Youth Club in Croydon, where we ran a week long drama, music and puppetry project over the half term break with 15 young people. All of them are autistic, plus have learning disabilities and other additional needs and were picked to take part because they are withdrawn and have major problems with confidence and self-esteem.

Youth worker, Bev, spoke about Philip who didn’t speak when he first started attending the youth club, and although he is now verbalising, to see him act and record a solo she said was “Wow!”. Philip often uses bad language and has very poor social skills, but she described how seeing him sat in the circle & engaging for a full session made her “so surprised. It was a miracle for him. I was chuffed.”

Throughout sessions, the group created a 10 minute film which was shown at the end of the week to a large appreciative audience of friends and family. Here's the 3 minute edit:

To see them all performing was incredible for the youth workers and parents. Youth worker Annemarie described how amazed she was about Kwabena, who is normally very quiet:

“The best bit today was when a parent said to me that they’ve never heard their son so loud. She was shocked and said, ‘I didn’t know he had a voice like that’. I heard that voice yesterday, I was in the office typing, and I practically jumped out of my seat. Another colleague said, “That’s him!” and I thought, “no way”, I had to come out. That’s how much his confidence has grown. From Monday afternoon to Thursday. That, for me, was amazing.”