After a hopeless week its been rounded off with a lovely day today. Reilly was invited along to one of his classmates, Eve’s birthday party at one of mine and Reilly’s favourite places The Tim Lamb Centre.
I’ve blogged about this place before. Its always been somewhere that I can truly relax. Staff, parents, other children – we all get it. Naked runner through the cafe – no sweat. Meltdown in the ball pit – no problem. The centre provides leisure and social opportunities for children with disabilities & additional needs in the North East of England, i’m lucky enough to have it 5 minutes drive away. All children need a place to play and opportunities to socialise with their friends, but for some children with disabilities & additional needs, accessing community facilities can prove challenging and sometimes impossible.
Last couple of class parties for Reilly have gone pretty well so I had high hopes for today. Mini panic en-route when he realised we weren’t headed to Smyths but was soon resolved with a couple of photographs of the centre on his ipad. The centre has just reopened after a big refurbishment so I was looking forward to having a nosey around.
The Tim Lamb Centre is set in the Rising Sun Country Park at Benton nestled behind Asda. The refurbishment includes a £200,000 extension which includes a new café area, kitchen and accessible toilets, new soft play has been fitted and all rooms updated. There is a games room, toddlers and music room, sensory room, computer room to name a few. The gardens are enormous and fully equipped – that even includes, rabbits, chickens and goats.
Today was important for me not just because I love to see Reilly with his school friends as minimal as that interaction might be but it gave me a chance to take Ellis my 10 year old along too see Reilly in an environment where he is comfortable and not judged.
Ellis struggles with the fact that people look at us and are sometimes very rude. It also gave Ellis a chance to see that Reilly’s behaviour is not just Reilly playing up, Reilly is not the only one. We had a good chat with Deborah at the centre about their Sibling scheme and Ellis is really interested in meeting other children who are in the same position as him and is looking forward to joining in with their days out and sessions in. It may lay to rest some of his questions like why did it have to be me who got an autistic brother, breaks my heart but until you see the disruption within the family unit you cannot begin to understand.
Overall a great afternoon, kids were great, Ellis enjoyed it, Reilly managed to leave Eve’s birthday present wrapped up which is a first and it gave us parents a chance at feeling, dare I say it normal – whatever that is just for a little for a bit.
Big Happy Birthday to Eve and thank you for having us x