Portsmouth autism group celebrates 10-year anniversary

Emergency services including the fire and rescue service will be present on the day

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A GROUP which helps people with autism celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Joan Smith set up Autism Support and Advice in Portsmouth to aid adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.

During their meetings, members are helped to build their confidence and self-esteem.

When she started the group, Joan never expected it to still be going 10 years later.

She said: ‘I achieved one of my dreams when I started the group. Little did I know that 10 years later it would still be enabling individuals to overcome their difficulties.

‘My aim was to provide a safe environment where individuals who have a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome would gain peer support.

‘I wanted somewhere they would not be bullied or laughed at as they strived to learn social skills.

‘We’ve seen so many individuals who have gained confidence.’

At its meeting last week, the group celebrated its anniversary and gave Joan some flowers for her hard work.

Parent Linda Blake thanked Joan for her work. She said: ‘When I met Joan in 2013 I told her about my son.

‘She kindly stepped in to help us gain the support he needed. We will always be grateful for this much-needed lifeline.’

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