We have dedicated and skillful volunteers across the UK. Watch one of our volunteers talking about their work for The National Autistic Society above, or hear from a few of our volunteers about what it means to them.

Lesley
Helen
Mandeep
Miriam
Nicola
Sarah

Lesley

Lesley Pert and colleagues

For ten years, our Education Rights Service has supported families in Scotland with free advice on education law, rights and entitlements. Families often rely on our support to get their children the education they need and deserve. It’s down to the hard work of our volunteers that this is possible. We are also grateful to Harper Macleod for their ongoing pro bono support and assistance with volunteer training.

Lesley Pert has volunteered with the service since the beginning and has helped many families over the past decade. Lesley’s commitment and endless enthusiasm is amazing. She is a keen fundraiser for us, and most recently did a zip slide across the Clyde!  

Helen  

Helen is one of The National Autistic Society's branch officers. We have almost 100 branches across the UK that provide a range of services to local families affected by autism.

I am a Branch Officer and find it very worthwhile being able to use knowledge learnt from obtaining services and help for my two children, who are on the autism spectrum, to help other people. It has turned what was a very negative experience into something that is benefitting others.

Our branch has been involved in various activities including running a monthly support group and various social activities – barbecues, bowling and shortly a trip on a steam railway – fundraising, meeting with commissioners and helping people fill in benefit forms.
 
I have also volunteered for the Parent to Parent support line and one of the most rewarding aspects of that was hearing people sigh with relief, and indicate that they have found someone who understands what they are going through and can lend a sympathetic ear.
 
I have delivered talks to community groups, too - raising awareness of autism and the valuable work of the NAS. Numerous times at the end of my talk you can hear a pin drop as people become aware how much individuals and their families lives are affected by the condition. Frequently, people comment that they are surprised that so many areas of life are affected by the condition.

Mandeep 

Mandeep volunteers for The National Autistic Society as a Volunteer Information Provider for our Transition Support Service. The service helps young people with autism aged 14-25 (andtheir families) negotiate the move into adulthood.

My name is Mandeep. I am originally from New Delhi, India, and I have been living in London for the past eight years. Currently, I am studying psychology at City University London.

I believe volunteering is a great opportunity for me to make a contribution to society. Although I have not had prior experience, I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to help those who need patience, compassion and care.

Personally, I would like to develop my skills in the area of communication and I'm looking forward to  interacting with different kinds of people. Also, I would like to learn more about children with autism, their  development and their transition into different phases [of life].

Miriam

Miriam has been volunteering with The National Autistic Society's Education Rights Service for 12 years. The service provides support to parents of children and young people with autism via phone and email.

I have a 38-year-old son with Asperger syndrome who was not diagnosed until he was 21. He had no support at school which resulted in serious mental health problems and a very stressful time for him and all of the family. We, as parents, were belittled and given no support.

In my role on the Education Rights line, I support parents who have problems relating to the education of their children. I answer questions about the child’s rights to a full-time education. I look at the support the child may need so that they can enjoy and benefit from their education. And I try to help parents get adequate support to prevent mental health problems and their child having low self-esteem.

For me, the benefits of being a volunteer are job satisfaction, and knowing that the time spent on a call will benefit a child and family living with autism.

Nicola

Nicola is one of The National Autistic Society's branch officers. We have almost 100 branches across the UK that provide a range of services to local families affected by autism.  

The Blaenau Gwent branch of The National Autistic Society (NAS) provides information and social sessions for children and families affected by autism in the area. It is a busy branch organised by a team of volunteers and led by branch officer Nicola Williams.

Nicola says: I have been volunteering for the NAS for three years. My son has autism, and when I went through the diagnosis with him there was very little support and information available. I couldn't stand the thought of other families going through the same thing. The thing I enjoy most about volunteering for the NAS is seeing the smiles on kids' and parents' faces!

Last year we organised a wonderful Christmas party which included entertainment, buffet and a disco. We considered all the needs of the families who were going, and made sure there were places available for people to use if they needed time away from the excitement of the party. Our next big event is a fundraising ball, with lots of other activities planned for the time leading up to this. 

Sarah

Sarah volunteers for the The National Autistic Society (NAS) in one of our social groups. The groups are an opportunity for people with autism to meet people, make friends and learn new social skills.

I have been volunteering with The National Autistic Society for over two years now.

I started volunteering as I studied learning disability nursing at university and discovered that a lot of people with a learning disability are also affected by autism. I had very little experience in this area, and thought it would be a great opportunity to gain knowledge and give something back to a fantastic cause.

I mostly volunteer with the 8-12 and the 12-16 social inclusion projects and the adult social groups. I work alongside the staff to help facilitate the activities, and make sure that all the members are having a good time.

Part of the role that I find the most satisfying is aiding group members to communicate with each other, and helping them discover ways in which they can manage difficulties they may face in relation to their autism outside of the group. I believe that the support that the groups offer is indispensable and I am really proud to be involved with the NAS. I always leave with a smile on my face.