Thanks to Anna for inviting me on to her show to talk about All Things Autism. It’s really inspiring to hear everything she has done to raise awareness of autism and support families.
Being a parent of two autistic sons, she understands the frustration and disappointment many families feel in finding the right support for their children, which is why she went on to set up two schools, a college and a respite home for autistic children – what an amazing lady!
Similarly, the Petra Ecclestone Foundation was set-up in 2016 to help families of children with autism and Petra’s Place Therapy Centre opened its doors on Fulham Road, London in October 2018 to offer evidence-based early intervention therapies to children between 18 months and 5 years.
Research studies identify that the four areas most commonly impacted by autism in the early years are the capacity for joint attention, symbolic play, self-regulation, and social communication. Our programmes are specifically designed to target and support development in these areas and to equip children with the preschool skills they need to help them thrive.
In September 2020 we also opened an inclusive special needs nursery which offers parents a specialised child-care solution and access to therapeutic interventions all under one roof.
It’s especially challenging for all families during this global pandemic, but especially for parents of children with special needs and autism. We are here to offer support to parents in whatever way we can and will be launching a parenting programme soon. It was great to chat with Anna about these challenges and how important it is to take a little time for yourself as a parent, try not to beat yourself up about things you are not achieving. Just getting through the day is an achievement for all parents at the moment. Be kind to yourself and find ways to look after your own mental health.
Through our blog, called The Brightest Star, and on our social media channels on Instagram and Facebook, we try to encourage parents to set time aside for self-care and rest time. Putting yourself first sometimes doesn’t come easily to parents with autistic children but pouring from an empty cup, as we know, doesn’t provide much substance. We have managed to build up a supportive community and love hearing their suggestions also of how they cope with everything, from changing routines to meltdowns and tantrums to the challenging journey of diagnosis, and setting up treatment for their children. We feel a real affinity with parents and whether we can support them face to face at the centre or virtually we do what we can.
If you would like to find out more information about Petra’s Place, please visit our website and we would be happy to arrange a virtual tour.
Petra Ecclestone runs The Brightest Star, a blog that chronicles love, laughter, growth, and support for those with autism