Parents of autistic children thank St Albans mum for founding charity

PUBLISHED: 12:22 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:22 26 November 2018

Gayeanna (right) with her son James, who inspired her to begin the Lego club.

Gayeanna (right) with her son James, who inspired her to begin the Lego club.

Archant

Parents of autistic children are still thanking the St Albans mum who set up an ‘inspired’ Lego Club.

A note from parents at the Lego Club in Fleetville. Picture: Gayeanna Ryan A note from parents at the Lego Club in Fleetville. Picture: Gayeanna Ryan

Four years ago, Gayeanna Ryan set up monthly meet-ups for children with special needs to socialise, create, and develop friendships in a calming environment.

She thought up the idea while trying to encourage her autistic son, James Allcock, to get out of the house more often.

Although James has now outgrown the club and Gayeanna no longer leads the sessions, parents are still going out of their way to thank her.

She recently received a letter though the post that said: “Some years ago you had the brilliant idea to give youngsters like your James a friendly, easy place to be.

A note from parents at the Lego Club in Fleetville. Picture: Gayeanna Ryan A note from parents at the Lego Club in Fleetville. Picture: Gayeanna Ryan

“That was inspired, thank you. It still makes the weekends a little easier now for families in our situation.

“Last session a lady came all the way from Bishop’s Stortford saying Lego Club came highly recommended by someone who said ‘It’s the best place around’.”

Initially paying the hall hire herself and accepting Lego donations from the St Albans community, she won the first ever Maltings Community Hero Awards in 2015.

Since then the National Autistic Society has offered to help fund the club.

Gayeanna said: “It feels amazing.

“It’s so nice that people are still donating to the club. I thought the card was so lovely.”

Autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term for a number of conditions, including Asperger syndrome, that affect social interaction, communication, interests, and behaviour.

National Autistic Society research conducted into Lego-based Therapy by specialist teachers in East Sussex has shown it improves autistic children’s self-esteem, language flexibility, empatheticbehaviour, self-awareness, confidence and turn taking.

Lego Club is for children aged three and 16 and runs one Saturday each month from 12pm to 2pm at Fleetville Community Centre. The next session is on December 15.

Entry is £2 per child or £1 per sibling. Refreshments are available.

To find out more, call 07735072964.

For more information, visit St Albans Lego Club for children with autism/special needs on Facebook.

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CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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