Last night I thought I should press pause on the Outdoor Learning Centre for young people on the Autism spectrum…

What Outdoor Learning Centre? Isn’t this just an occasional blog about training alpacas?

Well it started out that way. But then I started having ideas.

It all started from being frustrated that our 3 boys prefer to be inside (often plugged into a screen- PC, mobile, TV, anything with angry birds or Minecraft) even though we live in the middle of nowhere. I want them to love being outside. Like I do.

Our middle son has High Functioning Autism. That’s the diagnosis you get when a child has significant developmental delays and is verbal. We’ve been on a steep learning curve ever since we started the diagnosis process (it is a long arduous process). I will come back to our story later, in a future post…The main point is I’m now in the autism world and I’m driven to help them be as capable as they can, to access all the best chances they can.

I know I haven’t posted much recently let alone posted anything about an Outdoor Learning Centre so bear with me while I try my best to explain what I am on about.

For the last few months I have been beavering away writing business plans and dreaming up crowdfunding plans and phoning banks for loans and emailing lawyers for advice all so we could buy an amazing piece of land here in West Cornwall to start this ere Outdoor Learning Centre for young people on the Autism Spectrum. Hence why no blog posts.

The land has 2 polytunnels and two workshops (one is even set up to train alpaca!) and water with the spring source just behind one of the workshops and the stream running beside one of the fields. !!! It is amazing! Just what I have been dreaming of for years and years.

The idea is this; buy the land, set up a few yurt for ‘ready to go family camping’ to pay the loan and then apply for funding to offer alpaca assisted therapy sessions to children on the autism spectrum as well as offer horticulture training to young adults with autism who have found themselves on the other side of the education system without a job and empty days (not something that anyone with autism likes).

I know it is possible. Most of the prep work is done. I just need to pull it all together and raise the cash (!!!). The film company is even booked in to come in a week to make a little movie about us (AHHH!!!). I completely believe in it so why last night did I think I should press pause for long while…(which would mean lose the land, cancel the film, alienate/lose all the people who I’ve already asked for help…). Well, the truth is I don’t know if there is enough of me to do this. I had a stressful day with the boys off school with the strike being reminded how even a simple thing like going from my mums house with the boys to a shop to lunch with a friend collecting the cat from the vet means I am exhausted the whole day. I had to remind myself of the article I read last year about research saying being an Autism ‘Mum’ (parent!) meant I suffered the same amount of stress as a soldier with Post Traumatic Stress disorder (Ohhhh light bulb moment).

So my question today is can I really manage this??? It will be a lot of work. Is it better to try or stop before I start for real?

With love and patience for all our bad days, our misgivings and mistakes and for trying to dream a little bit too big for ourselves!


2 thoughts on “Last night I thought I should press pause on the Outdoor Learning Centre for young people on the Autism spectrum…

  1. You can manage it. Five years ago you wouldn’t have believed you could manage a child with autism. Or a load of alpacas. Or teach! You may need help along the way but people will pop up, they always do. You might need to ask for help. But thats not bad either.
    This is an amazing plan. Its something that the community needs and more importantly that you need, because its been banging around at the back of your head for too long 🙂

  2. I am so glad you wrote this. I have been really impressed by your business plan. I know you love the land. I know you have to find a better place for the Alpacas. I have heard bits of your dream and now I see the whole dream in focus. Don’t lose that focus. There will always be someone to help. Me for one. Mia is spot on. Just keep going one step at a time and you will get there. I love your dream and if it works I might live next door. <3<3<3

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