Special Needs Christmas Pantomime
Going to see a pantomime is a tradition that we look forward to as a child and love taking kids to as an adult. Special needs children often miss out! These are some of thoughts that go through the minds of parents: ‘Will my autistic child be able to cope with the noise or the crowds — money wasted if you have to leave after 5 minutes!’, ‘Do I feel confident enough to cope with people staring or making comments because my child is in a wheelchair?’, ‘How embarrassing will it be having to explain why my child is making strange noises or will not sit still?’.
PAG aims to build confidence by offering families a safe way to access what most of us take for granted. Each year we buy an additional performance of the Pantomime from The Princes Hall, Aldershot. We offer over 400 tickets to families with special needs children and ask for a small contribution towards the cost. With a light up toy for every child, a drink and ice cream for everyone and a programme per family, it is a fantastic experience, involving 15 volunteers on the night and a whole lot of fundraising throughout the year!
PAG’s MADD Club
Music, Art, Dance and Drama for 5-18 year olds with special needs. Most of our children are not able to access social groups and activities in the same way as their more able peers. A big part of their social learning as they become young adults is missed through lack of opportunity. One parent of a physically disabled boy pointed out that ‘It is not always appropriate for Mum to be there, when they are hanging out with their friends’.
Thanks to grant funding we have successfully run this club since 2006. Skilled tutors and enthusiastic volunteers have come together with special needs young people, to take part in weekly groups for dance and drama, and a regular music session. The young people wanted an opportunity to ‘Show What They Know’ on a proper stage to a proper audience. We endeavour to do this once a year. It give them a tremendous boost in confidence and gives us a fantastic sense of achievement. Siblings within the age range are also able to take part which makes a huge difference to families.