Rebecca Gilchrist, On the Spectrum — Coffee Group organiser

On the Spectrum Coffee Group

by Ann van Engelen

Rebecca Gilchrist started the On the Spectrum support group as an opportunity for people living or working with children or family members who have ‘hidden disabilities’ to interact with each other.

“Our philosophy is to have ‘real’ connections with other parents and possibly develop new friendships outside of the group,” says Rebecca.

“When we moved to Rolleston in 2012 after the earthquakes I found as a mother, looking for any community support to help with a child with ADHD, there wasn’t anything around, so I started my own.”

Rebecca runs a very relaxed and supportive coffee group for anyone dealing with ‘neurodivergence’ including parents, teachers, grandparents, sports coaches and caregivers.

“It is a safe place to discuss issues that arise bringing up children with autism, ADHD, sensory problems, dyspraxia, ASD or social difficulties.

Brains that function differently are what we are all about.

“We share ideas that work around food, behaviour, bedtime routines, good professional contacts or doctors in the community, strategies and visuals to share with schools. We are not professionals — we chat over coffee and lots of lollies with others living what we know.

“Some people have recently had a child diagnosed. They come along and see they are not going through this alone, as it is a very scary time for families. We have grass-roots experience and help the best we know-how.

“It’s not a processing error — it’s a totally different operating system.”

The group meet on the first Thursday of every month at Generation House, 646 Springston/Rolleston Road, Rolleston from 7pm to 9pm.

For more information go to the On the Spectrum — Coffee Group Facebook page.