News and updates

ℕ𝕖𝕨𝕀 π•’π•Ÿπ•• 𝕦𝕑𝕕𝕒π•₯𝕖𝕀

What's going on?

Saturday, June 25, 2022 by Sam McCormick | Uncategorized

Good afternoon everyone, 

I just wanted to share a quick note to let you know about a few fundraising events we have going on; these are to help support our community activities through the summer holidays (to which you are welcome to book onto).

On Saturday 2nd July we will be hosting a sponsored STEM afternoon - where the children will be challenged to build the tallest marshmallow tower possible. Everyone is welcome to join us, and it will be held from 3-5pm at Spennymoor Youth & Community Centre. If you wish to reserve a place for your child, let me know and I'll get the sponsor form to you and full details. This is free to attend, and children are dropped off so you get a couple of hours to yourself! Brothers and sisters who don't have tuition with me are welcome to attend.

And on Monday 19th June, I will be hosting an online Parent's Support Evening with Gemma (my colleague) to help offer suggestions of ways to counter the "summer learning loss" that many children experience and share some wellbeing tips. We are selling tickets to this on a donation basis, with a suggested minimum donation of £10.

If you want any further details on anything, please just let me know.



π•ƒπ•–π•’π•£π•Ÿπ•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ π•‹π• π•˜π•–π•₯𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝔸π•ͺπ•”π•π•šπ•—π•—π•– - π•¨π•–π•π•”π• π•žπ•– π•šπ•Ÿπ•—π• 

Thursday, June 9, 2022 by Sam McCormick | Uncategorized

We are looking forward to welcoming you all to our new Learning Together group in Aycliffe. There is no requirement to attend all 6 of the weeks of the pilot project, but please let me know if you are not able to attend so I can free up extra spaces for others. The classes will be run by myself, and I have a teaching assistant Emma who will be supporting the group. We may also have additional volunteers some weeks. Please be assured all adults are qualified, experienced and have up to date DBS certificates.

On your first visit, please come through the main entrance that faces towards Tesco, the back entrance will be locked. We will aim to have someone waiting to walk everyone through to the room we are using, which is currently Meeting Room 1. In case there is no one about, to get to the room you walk past the reception and take the second corridor on your left which is signposted Meeting Rooms. The main entrance door will likely be locked when you return to collect your child, to ensure members of the public are unable to just walk into the building, and we will only release children to a known adult - if someone different will be collecting your child please let us know.

There are toilets in the main entrance area, and we would appreciate it if you would ensure your child has been to the toilet before starting (as best as possible, we know what kids are like!).


Children do not need to bring anything, however any homework, spellings, reading books etc are very welcome and will enable us to support your child in the best way possible. If your child doesn't bring their own work, we will provide resources we feel are suitable for their age and stage they are working at. You are welcome to send your child with their water bottle, to help keep them hydrated. 

The sessions are drop off, meaning adults do not join us in the room, however, you are welcome to sit in the entrance if this reassures you or your child - please let us know in advance if you will be doing this. 

My number, should you need to contact me is 07710 478583. In the event I don't answer (usually because I am working), please drop me a brief text message and I will get back to you as soon as I can. 

It would be appreciated if all parents could compete the following questionnaire before their child's first session:

I sincerely hope I have covered everything. Sorry there is a lot of information - but I wanted it to all be in one place!

Autism Awareness; review

Sunday, May 22, 2022 by Sam McCormick | Eric Knows

Our first collaboration with Eric Knows on Thursday 19th May was an overwhelming success.


Ella offered her own lived experiences combined with the theoretical knowledge, to cover the main areas of autism that are often overlooked. 

We covered: 

  • How the senses can often be experienced differently;
  • Behind the scenes – masking, following rules and alexithymia (difficulty recognising both your own and others’ emotions);
  • Stimming;
  • Executive functioning;
  • Shutdown (quiet, withdrawal, unable to talk and/or decision making) versus  meltdowns (angry, outbursts, crying, shouting, hitting and lashing out).

"It was great to hear about each point in detail, and from a female's point of view." Said one parent of an autistic child

Ella also talked about how to best manage your own expectations against the needs of the neuro-divergent individual. Explaining how the outcome for everyone is better if the needs of the ND individual are put first; create the environment to suit the individual’s needs rather than make the individual adapt to the environment they are spending time in eg, if you know an autistic individual will struggle to follow a set of rules, break them down and give them one at a time. If you know an individual stims, allow them to do so.

And Ella observed that mental ill-health often coexists with autism; possibly because of the increased mental load of just getting through the day in the neuro-typical world. There have been no definitive studies that have understood the true root cause. 

One ND attendee reflected: "So far, all I had learned about autism is that it is different for everyone and for that reason autism could never been correctly described by the same one description. The discussion style [of the event] was interesting a comfortable and Ella explained everything well. I would like to learn more from Ella about meltdowns v shutdowns and masking."

She also offered some practical tips to help with Executive function and what to do/not do during melt or shutdown. Practical in both her own personal experience of learning about herself and learning the best way to manage her autistic son in these situations. 

And an NHS practitioner commented: "What I have gained from this session is confidence. It was all extremely valuable and I am looking forward to future sessions."

Suggestions for future events include: 

  • Autism in girls
  • Masking
  • Later diagnosis (pre-teen onwards)
  • Alexithymia 
  • Stimming
  • More OT intervention strategies
  • Ideas for working with ND patients

Do you have any more suggestions to add to the list? Would you like us to come and deliver a talk at your place of work, or to the staff of somewhere you often visit? Drop us an email to let us know at