If you have a child with autism/Asperger’s you are likely to be entitled to DLA (Disability Living Allowance) for them.  The child doesn’t have to have a diagnosis but you have to be able to prove they need more help than a typical child of the same age.  The DLA document that needs to be completed is quite a long document and you have to give a breakdown of how long various tasks take to complete and what extra help your child needs.  It can be quite difficult to complete, especially for the first time, but Parent Partnersip are usually available to assist if needs be.  DLA is not allocated depending on income as it is a benefit awarded for the child rather than the parent.

Carers Allowance

If you are in receipt of middle rate DLA and you earn less than £100 per week you can apply for Carers Allowance. This is a benefit paid to the parent/carer.


If you are in recipt of either of the above you may find it handy to keep a copy of your confirmation letter in your handbag for when you go on days out as many venues have concessions for the disabled/carers which may include free or discounted entry and in some cases a fast-track entry so the child doesnt have to queue.  Some local venues which honor this are Legoland, Sealife, Blackpool Zoo, Lowry Theatre and there will be many more.

As well as the HFT support group, the following may be of interest to parents:

Swimming lessons (costs vary):

  • Carrington (Man. Utd. training centre) – 1:1 half-hour sessions, varied depth pool.
    Contact Karen on 0161 749 2570
  • Stretford Leisure Centre – 1:1 or small groups, half hour session in shallow training pool.
    Contact 0161 875 1414
  • Seashell Trust, Cheadle – 1:1 or small group, half hour session, whole pool is approx 1.5m deep.
    Contact Wendy on 0161 610 0159

CEA Cinema card

  • If your child likes the cinema you can get a CEA card which allows a parent/carer to go free. Costs just £5.50 and is valid for a year. Also, please note Odeon cinemas sometimes run ‘autism friendly’ screenings of certain films.

Discounted entry with DLA / Carer’s letter

  • To places such as zoo’s, theatres, bowling, Sealife and Legoland. Some places like Legoland also offer fastpass so you don’t have to queue. Just take a copy of your DLA or Carer’s letter along and ask if they do disability concessions at the entrance.

Private Autism Assessment

  • Spectrum North West, based in Warrington, offer a multi-disciplinary autism assessment using DISCO, ADOS, observation and sensory profiling tools. For more information and contact details visit their website www.spectrumnorthwest.org


Today was our last meet-up of 2014. The children enjoyed christmas activities in the craft room, played on the laptops, played pool and table football and even had a spontaneous sing-song.

It was good to catch up with parents and to share experiences and hints n tips.

We even had festive mince pies and cupcakes.



The HFT committee would like to wish our members a very happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in 2015

What a great meet-up we had today with five new families attending.

The children enjoyed playing on the Wii, singing along to Frozen, playing various instruments (the drums are always popular!) and creating some fab designs using Hama beads. It was lovely to see the newbies welcomed by the regulars.

It was great to meet new parents too and discuss where they’re at on their journeys. A common theme seemed to be that professionals involved were reluctant to ‘label’ the children – which those living with ASC will know is so frustrating as, to quote the NAS, “it’s not a label it’s a signpost” – a signpost to getting the children the support they need, including from parents. How can a parent explain to their child why they are different and help them to understand their issues without that ‘diagnosis’!  would they choose not to label somebody who has diabetes?


Our group trip to the interactive CBBC Tour was a great success with children and parents alike.

The children got to see Dr Who’s tardis, host News Round, present the weather and CBBC, they took part in team quizes, visited the Blue Peter studio and learned about sound effects and how tv programmes are made.



Today some of our members enjoyed a bouncing, sliding, flipping good halfterm meet up at the newly opened Jump Nation.

It was lovely to see the children enjoying themselves on the trampolines and in the foam pit. A good time was had by all.

It was also nice to catch up with parents and hear how their halfterm break is going.

I’m sure we’ll be visiting Jump Nation again before the year is out.


So we are back to our monthly meet-ups and, though there was a slight glitch with access to the building, plan B proved to be great fun for all with many loombandz being created, including a giant one that stretched about 3m, some great chat amongst the children and the adults and it was lovely to welcome some new members and have a couple of teens join us. Glad the weather was in our favour.

Today was the  fifth session in our social skills course. The topic today was ‘Conversations’. The children watched some short films and took part in small group exercises to learn what makes a good conversation. As well as discussing where might be a good place to meet possible friends they covered things like; ways to start a conversation, listening, taking turns, asking/answering questions, being relevant and ending a conversation.

The children ALL gave some excellent answers and it was great to see how their confidence has grown since the first session.

The pictures below show one of the children choosing what things make a good conversation v a bad one, and the group playing the ‘pleased to meet you’ game where four children make an inner circle facing out and another four make an outer circle facing in – the outer circle walk around and stop when asked and then introduce themselves to the person they are facing in the inner circle, they then swapped so everybody got to start the conversation – this was a great and fun way for them to practice ‘ways to start a conversation’.

We are all very proud of the progress the children have made over the sessions and the way they have joined in with the various group exercises and the fantastic answers they have given. Well done to everybody who has taken part so far.

s skills 5 (3)
Choosing what makes a good conversation


Playing the ‘nice to meet you’ game


Working in partnership with Hearts & Minds and ASGMA we launched our new social skills course on Sunday the 26th January.  The course is run by a qualified Speech Therapist and is designed to give children aged 7 – 11 hints, tips and the social skills they need to deal with day to day life by taking part in a range of fun and informative activities within a supported and safe environment.

As you might expect at the start of something new the 10 children who started this course were nervous, excited and full of enthusiasm. They were also a little bit wary of what it was all about, but after just three months  they have gained confidence, formed friendships and are really benefiting from taking part.

bowling1A couple of weeks ago we decided to organise a bowling trip to compliment  the course and to give the children a chance to socialise outside of the group setting – this was a great success.  All of the children from the group, and their parents, came along. All children took part, some using the ramp to bowl and some using their own throwing/rolling techniques – the highest score on the day was an impressive 104.  A good time was had by all.

This was our first social activity since the group started last year. We are really pleased at how well it went and are committed to arranging several more over the next 12 months.

If you have any ideas on what we should do please let us know – we would love to hear from you.

Our current social skills group have now met three times and have learnt lots of things like how people differ from each other, how we can tell how somebody is feeling, what makes a good friend and today we were learning about non-verbal communication, eye-contact and what is an appropriate distance to stand from people when talking to them (depending on how well we know them).


Non-verbal communication task