Where it all began

 In early 2014 Shirley Murphy spoke to her co-ordinator at the organisation she was a volunteer for and suggested the need for a support group for parent carers and their families who have children with Autism. A staff member from the organisation managed to secure some funding of £1000 to start off the support group.

Our first meeting was on 2nd October 2014 at Distington Community Centre, and from that meeting our membership became larger and larger from 12 to now we have 632 members.

We have since became a registered charity and have been successful in securing a grant from the lottery and our biggest achievement is gaining our own premises.

This will only lead to bigger and better things in the future of our group and the team are very excited at making this group even more fantastic than it already is…

Meet the team

Hello, My name is Shirley, mum to Daniel whose main disability is his Blindness and was diagnosed with Autism when he was 13. I am the chair and treasurer for our support group which just keeps flourishing into something quite wonderful. I have been a volunteer worker within the field of disabilities for the past 40 years and I am still as passionate now as I was then.

Hi, I'm Lesley Little

 I have a brother who has Autism and Prader Willi Syndrome and also a niece with Autism. I started coming along to group activities with a friend to help her out and seen what an awesome job this group does, and seeing the children enjoy each others company and how the parents have other parents to support each other and talk to, its like a little family.  I asked if I could join the team.  I joined the team in 2019 and help out with the smaller children's activities.

Gary Austin


I'm Gary.

I am on the Autistic spectrum and I first attended an advice session with Autism Support Allerdale and Copeland, before covid come about. In my time as a volunteer I have helped set up a social club specifically for adults with Autism and proved a massive success. I am truly honoured to be a part of something special at a proper Autism charity and I'm looking forward to contributing more in the future as we aim to reach new heights. 

Hi everyone, 

I'm Claire, I started attending ASAAC because a family member of mine had started with *"school refusal" and we realised they were autistic. ASAAC supported my family and helped me with applying for an EHCP, due to the difficulties and barriers we have come up against I have since completed the IPSEA Sen Law training, Levels 1,2 and 3. I am hoping to help support familys before they end up at the stage my family did, I would also like to help others navigate the EHCP process and help families who are experiencing *"school refusal".

*It is not refusal to attend school it is that they cant attend.

Thanks Claire x

Hi my name is Stacey, I first started as a parent of the ASAAC team just taking my two boys to the events, groups and asking for support. 
But after a short time I decided to volunteer and became good friends with the founder Shirley and the other volunteers. 
I felt lost as a parent at first having fought to get my eldest son a diagnosis from the age of two he is now nine! So I approached ASAAC for support and guidance as I was given a diagnosis then nothing. The work they do is amazing very professional and personal! I really do not know where I would be without them this last 18 months.
I loved the charity and support so much and found them so helpful I decided to become a volunteer. I also set up a toddler group under the umbrella of ASAAC for any child, I love it as does my youngest three year old.
I feel as a parent of possibly two autistic children I am a help to other fellow parent and carers, as I have been through it myself and still feel the struggle the anxiety and frustration that us as parent carers go through just to support and get the correct help for our children. 
On a whole I am a mum myself who knows what it’s like and how hard and stressful life can be with children with special needs and that we all just want what is best for our children and families, I don’t claim to be an expert but I hope with my experience as a mum and volunteer will help and support even just one family.