Learning to build willow crafts was among the highlights of a recent Somerset County Council organised week of events for children with autism and their families.
The CAOTfest (1-5 August) annual camping event, organised by the Children’s Autism Outreach Team (CAOT), is a chance for children with autism and their families to experience camping and have fun together.
During the week the children enjoyed learning circus skills, magic shows, quizzes, bush craft and survival skills, discos, DVD evenings, and taking part in learning willow craft.
This is the sixth year of CAOTfest and the numbers of families taking part has grown year on year, with over 50 families attending this year.
The CAOT team works with parents and carers and their children aged 0-13 with a diagnosis of autism. The team helps families understand autism, assists with strategies to manage behaviour, supports the families and their children, and organises social activities.
Barbara Mills, Senior Autism Outreach Worker, said: “It has been another great week of fun at CAOTfest. Each year we try to think of lots of exciting and different activities for the children to enjoy – learning willow crafts was a highlight for everyone, including the adults. The children love CAOTfest and many families come back year after year. The children get to enjoy socialising with other children with autism while their parents can relax in the knowledge that their children’s needs are understood and supported and they get to meet other parents and talk about autism.”
Trisha, a parent who came with all the family said; “This has been another fantastic CAOTfest. We have enjoyed the whole event. It’s a great opportunity to relax and allow the kids to be themselves and have a wonderful time. Our son Kieran told me all weekend about how he was having fun and he especially enjoyed the live band and disco. The CAOT team were all so helpful and friendly as always and this helped to make the weekend so special for all of us. We look forward to next year!”
Julie another parent said; “Thank you so much CAOT Team for this fantastic weekend. Looking at the children’s faces and the other parents having fun, laughing and trying new things was so wonderful to see. We look forward to this event every year and can’t say thank you enough.”
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “I have heard all about this year’s CAOTfest and it is fantastic to hear of the children enjoying the freedom and exciting activities the camp offers. Families really value the support of the CAOT team and this event is hugely important to them.”
“I am so proud Somerset County Council is able to offer events like these, and would like to congratulate the Children’s Autism Team for all their hard work. I hope CAOTfest will continue to run for many years to come.”