Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

As many of you will know, D went to a birthday party yesterday.

Normally when she goes to a party – on the rare occasions she gets asked – I spend the whole time “on patrol”, watching her constantly and risk-assessing her actions and those of the (mainly NT) children around her.

Not so yesterday, the most stressful part of the day was the bus into town, the quick shop in town and then the train to Taplow and even then, because she knew where she was going, her excitement overcame her anxieties.

Today’s post is about where we went – Thames Valley Adventure Playground, for children and adults with special needs.

This is the website http://www.tvap.co.uk and this is the information from the leaflet:

“since 1982, the Thames Valley Adventure Playground has offered an exceptional range of adventurous, therapeutic and educational play activities, catering for both children and adults with all types of disability, however mild or profound, in a safe, caring and stimulating environment.

The Playground experience is totally unique and offers something for everyone. It has no formal catchment area, with over 13,600 visits made each year by users who come from a wide area around the Thames Valley and beyond. They visit with families and as individuals, or with groups from schools, playschemes, day centres and residential units.

An OFSTED-registered day care facility, the Playground is run by a voluntary Board of Trustees. On-site care is provided by 5 full time and 10 sessional staff, supported by a loyal band of volunteers.

With annual costs currently running in excess of £300,000, and with as little as 5% of its income coming from local authority grants, the Playground relies heavily on the support of local people, organisations and the local community.
Registered Charity Number 278336.

The Playground is open to anyone with a special need and their family.”

Okay, that’s the information bit over. This place is WONDERFUL. I could write for pages about the activities that are there but the bonuses for me, as D’s Mumma are:

TVAP is only open to those with a special need child or adult in their family. Therefore anyone who goes there is aware of the challenges and delights that parenting a SN child brings. There are no withering looks, no stares, no comments.

The children seem to sense that they are safe there. The first time I went, I was amazed that parents were sitting around laughing and chatting whilst their children were running off, out of sight but the Playground has that effect, it’s such a relaxed environment. D always likes to keep me in sight and vice versa but there is plenty of scope to sit, relax and appreciate it.

The whole experience is a sensory delight for D. The toilets, for example, are all spacious, NO hand dryers and designed to be quickly and easily opened from the exterior if need be but at the same time, respectful of privacy.

Here’s some pictures:

The soft play area, complete with sensory den (there is an additional sensory room):

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The fish – D is fascinated by these:

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One of the swings – there are quite a few, all very safe with various seats. There is also a bed type swing too:

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The trikes area. I had never seen D so happy as when she first went on a trike here. Very large, open area, loads of trikes and helmets. The boys in the party yesterday were all so relaxed they were chasing each other on the trikes and really enjoying it.

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The climbing structures, again all very safe, very interactive:

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and a couple of other pictures:

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Whilst the children were having their party food (I’d taken D a lunchbox natch – my “cannot defer from what I normally eat” child), we all sat there, watching our individual children but saying how grateful we were that the Playground was there.

D goes there every couple of weeks or so with her school, which is how we came to know about it and it is a very popular place to hold a SN birthday party.

I’d love it if as many people who read this could RT it, even if you live nowhere near it, there may be someone who follows you, that does. It’s such a wonderful place, it provides such a “sanctuary” for children and parents alike and I’m so grateful that it’s there.

The website details are above, advance booking is essential (01628 628599) and they do ask for a small contribution toward the cost of each visit – it’s well worth it!

Comments and especially RTs very welcome, have a wonderful day Jx 

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Comments on: "A VERY Special Adventure Playground" (7)

  1. Wow!! That looks amazing!! So glad she had a good day x x

  2. what a brilliant place ,pleased she had a good day x

  3. Fantastic to hear of this place. I only wish we were a little closer! Great to know about this facility & can now share this information.

  4. What a great blog! I am always afraid to bring my daughter into public events or private social get togethers. She can act so differently in different situations. She seeks out social interactions but doesn’t understand the proper way to do it (despite attempts to teach her and medications, and therapy ).

  5. micromoth said:

    I’ve taken my son there a number of times, he loves it, it is a great place. I did hear that they were going to build a similar place in Hertfordshire/Radlett, but unfortunately it fell through.

    Thames Valley is a great place, we need more places like this. Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Wow! What a fab place. What a huge difference it makes to be able to relax, knowing your child is safe and free from risk of bullies too. Love it. Thanks for sharing xxx

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