In January 2014 I wrote this post “ASC What’s That?” about starting up my own business in supporting children with Autism in schools. Part of my motivation was to get out of a stifling education system that crushed my ideas and creativity and give myself space to get involved in disability ministry more and more. I was crushed, but not defeated; demoralised, but not without hope. I stepped out from all the pressure and condemnation into a world where all I had was a lot of ideas, buckets of enthusiasm and a need to start earning a wage very quickly.
My company – Reachout ASC
I hit the ground running and have hardly stopped for breath since. I have learned how to actually think like a business, had a website made and am supporting nearly 20 schools regularly with over 500 people having attended training that I have delivered. Not only to schools but family support charities, churches and a children’s work conference in sunny Eastbourne. I was so keen to bring my ministry and work life together so that I could feel fully ‘me’ in all that I do.
I have been really encouraged by a Lou Fellingham song Build this House (listen here). It says “Unless you build this house, I am building it in vain. Unless the work is yours there is nothing to be gained.” (C) Lou Fellingham. In any kind of job and ministry that is starting something, or moving something on, we can only build what God has planned.
Although God seems to be pressing on with things! As well as my business growing so that I am taking on two more autism specialist teachers so that we can support more schools, I am whizzing around the county talking to Head Teachers, SENCOs, Speech and Language Therapists and teachers about our service and hopefully helping a few more children with Autism and Asperger’s have a successful time in school. I now have a Facebook page here, full of articles and ideas about autism; am active in the Twitter education and SEN community; (Follow me here @ReachoutASC ) and I am writing a book about supporting pupils with ASC in secondary schools. I LOVE MY JOB!
I have always had a love of learning. And I am learning so much that I am able to convert into action in church too. I have set up a churches tab on my website and will continue to add new resources.
The Good News Group
We continue to run our weekly meeting for the adults with learning disabilities in our community. We are seeing spiritual growth in so many as we let God lead us in discipling them. We’ve had a brilliant Puppet workshop from One Way UK and a revamp of our activities during our social time (I think we were all getting a bit bored of the same things) and have just sorted a load of boxes with activities suggested by our members. We weren’t bothered about age appropriateness when they asked for sensory toys, playdough and duplo! It’s going to be fun for all of us to play together as adults. We’ve also got some picture Bible’s to read, Bible colouring and some more crafts, jigsaws and games. The group is just like I would love church to be for everyone. Full of joy, love and freindship whatever your abiliity. However, we have all the issues and trauma’s as any other ministry group might have and have recently had a bereavement. We are feeling really sad about it, but we have hope in knowing that a lovely, quiet man who loved the Good News Group and liked to pray, is now with our Saviour Jesus.
Lancashire Disability Network
The Lancashire Churches Disability Network went really well. With the support of Tim Wood from Through the Roof, we had over 40 people at our first meeting. The buzz and enthusiasm was fantastic and we are praying once again….God build this house, or we are building it in vain. The next meeting is in a couple of weeks and already, one church is making plans to set up their own group for adults with learning disabilities. People want to find things out, share experiences and learn together. I AM REALLY EXCITED AND GRATEFUL. This group has been two years in the praying, planning and waiting. I have learned some patience…………
I am grateful too for you who have read, shared and supported this blog. Keep on sharing, commenting and looking where God wants you to build his house.