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WORLD Autism Day takes place on 2 April; in fact the entire month of April denotes World Autism Awareness Month.

Asperger’s syndrome is a variant of autism, and people who have this syndrome are usually considered to be at the higher end of the autism spectrum. People with Asperger’s syndrome display the following traits:

* difficulty with (qualitative) social communication.

* difficulty with (qualitative) social interaction.

* Adverse sensory responses to certain stimuli.

* Rigid, repetitive, routine, and ritualistic behaviours.

According to the National Autistic Society only 15 per cent of people with Asperger’s syndrome manage full-time employment due to their inherent, frequently undetected, difficulties. Autism/Asperger’s syndrome is an unseen condition, yet one in every 100 individuals in the UK has the condition.

Elaine Nicholson MBE set up the charity Action for Asperger’s in 2008 from her home in Corby. The charity’s aims are to counsel these neuro-diverse lives and their loved ones. Catering for ages three to 100, the charity currently has 4,500 clients worldwide, thanks to Skype technology, and has sub-branches in Scotland and Wales. The charity also offers assessments and clinical diagnosis for autism and can offer autism awareness days to various organisations, with presentations that are tailored to a particular audience.

This month, the charity is expanding its Northamptonshire operation, and will be setting up an additional counselling facility in Keep House, Wollaston – a listed property on the Scott Bader site.

This venue will be known as Action for Asperger’s – Northamptonshire and in time will be separately constituted with the Charities Commission. Northamptonshire clients account for one fifth of the charity’s workload, yet because currently the charity is constituted as being UK-wide, it is unable to access funding that is ring-fenced specifically for the county. It is hoped that by creating this sub-branch that is Northamptonshire specific, they will be able to attract funding for the 800+ Northamptonshire clients they serve.

The charity is funded by client donations for the services they receive, with occasional monies coming from trusts, funerals or other community fundraising. Despite the clear success of the charity’s operations, sustainability is a key issue for them and so they are seeking longer term funding to enable continuance of the services they provide.

Elaine Nicholson said: “Solicitors who preside over charitable trusts would be helpful to us, for they are in positions of power whereby they can influence trusteeships on the munificence of our charity, and such communications have the potential to create funding for us. I would welcome meetings with solicitors who feel they could help us in this way.”

Fundraising is key to any charity’s continued success. Elaine advises people who want to research charities to do so not only via their main websites, but also by referring to the Charities Commission’s main website www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission for this gives a truly accurate picture of charities’ policies and accounts, for often the smaller organisation is forgotten in favour of the more buoyant, more longstanding, larger charities, whose needs are usually already well met.

If you can help Action for Asperger’s with raising funds, or would like to access a service, contact 01536 266681 or

Companies mentioned in this article

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