Case Study: ASD Helping Hands

A group of people walk in a field, their backs to the camera.

ASD Helping Hands offer guidance and support to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.


For children and young people, the national lockdowns were worrying and disruptive times. Suddenly isolated from peers and unable to seek comfort at their favourite places or stick to well-established routines, those with ASD saw these worries and disruptions magnified. Over the course of the pandemic, the East of England experienced the highest rates of young people with autism or Asperger’s seeking mental health and wellbeing support.

With lockdowns over, ADS Helping Hands were able to take 15 young people with diagnosed or suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on a 3-day residential trip to Norfolk Lakes Adventure Centre thanks to a grant from Norfolk Community Foundation.

New and established members of ASD Helping Hands were able to take part in confidence-building activities, like raft building, kayaking, paddleboarding and rock climbing. They also had the opportunity to socialise and make new friends. Those who attended were more likely to engage with further services offered by ASD Helping Hands, and friendships that were made during the residential break have continued since. Many parents noted an increased level of independence from their child, as well as a willingness to try new activities.

Young people paddle on a raft made from barrels.
Young people had the opportunity to take part in new activities
A young person shoots an arrow at an archery target
“We support a single-parent family of a mother and child. The child is very capable but struggles with social engagement, and due to this is often refused placement at other schemes that are similar. The mother has been visiting a counsellor for the past 12 months as she is finding it very difficult to cope with no support from friends or family. After booking her child on the trip she was able to have 3 days to herself and was so grateful that she burst into tears when thanking us upon picking him up. The child has also made some connections with the other young people on the trip and is looking forward to meeting with them outside of the charity activities and attending further trips with us.”
ASD Helping Hands
ASD Helping Hands - Paddleboarding

Published: 01/07/2022

Photography by Ben Thomas Photography