Autistic Inclusive Meets/AIM

Our Aims Are:

To enable families with autistic children, and autistic individuals to get out into the community and socialise in an accepting inclusive environment with like-minded peers.

To provide monthly meet up dates and times at museums, parks and places of interest.

To make available funded meals and trips out with fares for transport provided for families and individuals.

To arrange and facilitate trips for adults into the community allowing otherwise socially cut off individuals to thrive and instigate friendships.

To fund families and individuals to go on holiday breaks that they otherwise could not afford, renting out a fully disabled-friendly wheelchair-adapted bungalow or caravan for a week.

To rent premises for a weekly special needs playgroup with sensory toys/aids/apparatus and outdoor wheelchair-friendly play area.

To purchase sensory equipment including weighted blanket and compression vests.

To provide support and advice to families and individuals.

To promote acceptance of autism and educate the general public.

To protect autistic rights and campaign against autistic mistreatment.

To provide telephone and email helplines for members feeling anxious and requiring a caring individual to speak to them for support.

To fund families wishing to purchase sensory toys, specialist clothing and aids (weighted vest; helmet; chewy tube devices), Maclaren Major buggies, and to have a lending service for all such items.

To provide life skill training for teenagers, such as trips to supermarket and launderette, accompanied by a volunteer to encourage them to interact and enable more independence.

No personal gain is to be taken from any funding received.

AIM Board of Directors

Emma Dalmayne

Emma Dalmayne

CEO

I am an autistic mother to autistic children the youngest two of whom I home educate.

I campaign strongly for autistic rights and fight to stop autistic mistreatment, having worked with the BBC, the police and other prominent media.

I believe that AIM will encourage autistic individuals to come out into the community, we provide support for those feeling cut off from society including those who are LGBT.

We will support and provide playgroup services which allows the children to access sensory enrichment while mixing with their peers.

It also allows the parents to meet up and mix with autistic adults which, I believe, is vital.

I have a strong belief in acceptance and inclusion.

I am also author of two books about autism, It’s An Autism Thing – I’ll Help You Understand It and Susie Spins.

I also have a blog and run the AIM playgroups.

Amy Bresnahan

Amy Bresnahan

Director

Hello! I am a married mum of two boys and one girl. My hobbies include reading, crocheting, making clothes and also spending time at our family allotment.

I discovered AIM when my daughter was diagnosed autistic at the end of 2017. She also has a heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot. I’m pretty sure both my boys are on the spectrum too. All of my children are home educated.

AIM has been a lifesaver to me in the last nine months, especially Emma’s book It’s An Autism Thing. We attend as many of AIM’s groups and events as possible and I am looking forward to supporting other families on their journey.

Sara Challinger

Sara Challinger

Treasurer

I am a mum of four children. My eldest and youngest girls are autistic.

I have been an assistant brownie leader otherwise known as Snowy Owl for 14 years now and I have no plans to give that up anytime soon—it’s far too much fun! I also love knitting and am slowly improving my crochet skills.

I home educate my youngest daughter who is 9 years old and help Emma run the AIM Playgroup which is also a lot of fun.

In the future, I see AIM growing into an organisation that won’t just rival the NAS—I see it taking the place of the NAS. I see AIM supporting families and giving them the knowledge to support their autistic family member in a way that allows the person to grow and reach their fullest potential without fear of abuse—mental, emotional or physical.

Alexandra Forshaw

Alexandra Forshaw

Secretary

I’m an autistic parent with an adult autistic daughter. I work full-time as a software developer and manage AIM’s website. When I’m not busy working I enjoy drawing and painting, as well as reading and watching sci-fi. I also keep tarantulas.

I’ve been blogging and writing for several years, mostly on the subject of autism, and contributed a chapter to the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network anthology, What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew. I dabble in poetry from time to time as well.

I’m an autistic advocate, and maintain links with Flow Observatorium, a neurodivergent-led charity to support and promote recognition of neurodivergent people and their rights.

Joanna Takla

Joanna Takla

Director

I am a 40-something qualified solicitor with 4 children, of whom 2 are diagnosed on the spectrum. My son now aged 16 was diagnosed in 2006 and I have been immersing myself in all things ASD since. My daughter was diagnosed aged 3 earlier this year, and it made me think of my own profile and personality, as she has a different dad to my son.
I haven’t sought a diagnosis for myself but am starting to recognise and accept my past issues, which have probably been misdiagnosed as a mental health presentation when I was just trying to adapt to social expectations and pressures. Anyway I am here and I have been through years of building what others describe as amazing resilience, in the face of too often being misunderstood.
I am passionate about autistic people with all types of abilities making the most of life and their potential, being well understood, cared for and their rights respected. I have excellent knowledge of SEN (3 of my children now have an EHCP) and of social care duties, respect carers and those cared for, within my professional life. But most of all I know how important it is to gather as a community and have fun, whilst feeling less isolated. A bit of moral support makes such a difference!

Volunteers

Alexander Anthony Hobbins

Alexander Anthony Hobbins

Volunteer

I’m Alex, I’m autistic and I volunteer for Autistic Inclusive Meets. I was diagnosed with autism at nineteen, my hobbies are music and fitness. I think AIM is an amazing group for autistic children and parents, who can find release from the hectic structure of everyday.
Isa Sulaiman

Isa Sulaiman

Volunteer

Hi my name is Isa, I am a volunteer with AIM. I think it is a really good organisation and the work they do with autistic families is amazing.

Prudence Van Damme

Prudence Van Damme

Volunteer

G’day ladybugs & gentleworms,

So for those who don’t know I’m the resident entertainer/artist, with various circus based skills from flowersticks, juggling to unicycle, abilities that I’ll be sharing each week. As someone who’s been recently diagnosed with ASD and realising how much it has aided towards socialising & coordination amongst other things, I want to impart that opportunity to others so don’t be shy, come on over!

Olympia Ellinas

Olympia Ellinas

Volunteer

Hi, my name is Olympia and I am a 28 year old pharmacology student. I am nonverbal autistic. I enjoy being busy with various activities, mainly powerlifting (I regularly partake in competitions involving my London Borough), studying textbooks, volunteering and helping run a Facebook group. I need a high level of physical activity on a daily basis, and powerlifting is my way of doing that – it is the sport that I am good at, and for me it is a form of stimming. My favourite topics for textbook reading are neuro/psychopharmacology, neuropsychiatry and general clinical medicine topics.

I volunteer for AIM once a fortnight (I would volunteer more often, but distance is a limiting factor for me) and I thoroughly enjoy it. It is a friendly and very inclusive group and I have not received any discrimination of any kind for using AAC (unlike in many other life situations). Also, the children are a delight to interact with, and the parents are more than happy for me to communicate with them about autism, I have given advice out and even made some acquaintances. One parent suggested I start a local (to myself) group for children, which I may take up. Thank you to Emma for creating AIM, a superb idea that has blossomed.

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