Autism: Social experiences and community clubs

By Jessica Durston - 1 September 2022

Opinion and Features
  • Tyler Ody

    Tyler Ody

Living with Autism - a column by The Autistic Journalist Tyler Ody. North Swindon resident Tyler Ody has been working for Swindon Link for the past three years. From the age of four Tyler has been diagnosed with Classic Autism. Here's his new monthly column.

Hey everybody - welcome to the sixth instalment of Living With Autism!

This time I am covering social and community clubs I used to go to.

I remember when I was about seven years old I first started Aiming High - which is a community group for youngsters with autism.

This is something I first did in the school holidays, and we used to go swimming in the hydrotherapy pool and used to go on to Ruskin school. This was back when it was run by Julia Cook. I met so many lovely volunteers on the way.

Some of them worked in my old secondary school and they are the sweetest people you could meet. Some I’ve got to know along my Aiming High journey, and some I still say hello to when I see them around.

As I got a bit older I used to go on a Thursday evening to the Enrichment Centre. I used to go there in the holidays, but a couple years later it moved to the Saltway Centre - which used to be run by Sophie Unsworth then a bit later on by Kylie Choen.  

I remember we used to make our own snacks for snack time have a snack time and there was a big outside area where you could go on go karts.

During July of 2018, after eleven years, I left Aiming High. You can stay there until you're eighteen. On my last day, I brought in a homemade cake from my nan and a card to thank them.

Not only did I do Aiming High, I used to go to the ASD club at my school which was an after-school club run by Mrs Whitaker. I really enjoyed my time there, and we would either go outside, go in the ICT room or sometimes do a bit of karaoke. 

That was a great club where I could socialise with my friends and it was fun for me. I got know some new people who joined along the way.

I do sometimes miss going to the clubs, but remember the times I had. I feel so proud to have been on the journey with Aiming High, who I wish the best of luck. 

I was also pleased to hear that Crowdy’s had an ASD club for autistic students which no doubt is a massive help for the school.

Attending these clubs helped my confidence, and to bring out my voice more. It would take me some time to get to know people at first, and to feel comfortable to join in with the activities. Once I found my bearings, I enjoyed myself and enjoyed the social aspects. 

Staff and other club members helped support me by giving me lots of guidance with the club activities, and one to one attention. 

Individuals can find Tyler's last column at

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