Chesterfield mum launches support group for parents of children with autism

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A Chesterfield mum has launched an online support group where parents of children with autism can share their experiences and keep connected with others.

Louise Gill, 33, from Birdholme, started the Roman the Seeker website because she felt there was little in the way of parent-to-parent support for families with autism in their lives in Chesterfield.

And it has already attracted over 900 followers on social media in its first few months alone.

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Mum-of-one Louise said she began to feel isolated after her son Roman was diagnosed with autism in 2018 – something which inspired her to launch the group.

Louise Gill, pictured with her son Roman, set up Roman the Seeker as a support group for parents of children with autismLouise Gill, pictured with her son Roman, set up Roman the Seeker as a support group for parents of children with autism
Louise Gill, pictured with her son Roman, set up Roman the Seeker as a support group for parents of children with autism

She said: “From the day of Roman’s autism diagnosis, I thought there would be support available to learn and be able to support his needs in the correct way, as it was a massive learning curve for his father and me. We were I suppose thrown headfirst into the deep end of a swimming pool.

“There is lots of information online regarding autism but for me that isn’t what I was seeking. I was looking for other parents to connect with who are in a similar situation to myself. As time grew on, I was feeling more isolated.

“I set up Roman the Seeker this year to build a network in the local Chesterfield area to support other parents and build friendships through autism. In the first few weeks I was getting some response from parents wanting to share their experiences, and it has been growing from there. I started to write some personal blogs, about the ‘real stuff’.

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Roman, aged six, was diagnosed with autism in 2018Roman, aged six, was diagnosed with autism in 2018
Roman, aged six, was diagnosed with autism in 2018

“Also, adults with autism have connected with me and we all seem to have the same feeling which is isolation. I’d like to change that; I believe everyone should have support.”

Through the Roman the Seeker group, Louise aims to raise awareness and build a community of parents who can support others in times of need.

She regularly writes about her own experience of raising six-year-old Roman, who is none verbal and has global development delay, on the website which features forums and social media links where people can connect and gain support or friendships.

There is also an online shop for parents to buy a range of autism sensory toys.

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Louise Gill also has a small web-based shop which features sensory toys and other items which Roman loves and she often struggled to findLouise Gill also has a small web-based shop which features sensory toys and other items which Roman loves and she often struggled to find
Louise Gill also has a small web-based shop which features sensory toys and other items which Roman loves and she often struggled to find

Louise added: “What I’m trying to do is put the personal things in my life out there to reach out and to make it more normalised for other parents to be comfortable enough to speak about it.

"There’s support out there definitely but the waiting times and the channels you’ve got to go through are really difficult so you end up waiting six to eight months to get a little piece of advice about a problem with sleep or something like that.

"From a parent-to-parent point of view you can ask ‘well what did you do?’. It just builds up that friendship and trust between two people.”

For more information or to access the group’s support, visit the Roman the Seeker website or search ‘Roman the Seeker’ on Facebook and Instagram.

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