The 2016 Jigsaw Tree and Growing Zone Party.

For children with autism, receiving a party invitation is a rare event! The lack of understanding and awareness often makes attending parties difficult for children and their parents.

“It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope

The Growing Zone invited The Jigsaw Tree’s families to hold a summer party at their wonderful gardens and were prepared to work with us to make the small accommodations that make all the difference for our children, for example, having a quiet space for relaxing in and not requiring a dress code or even brushed hair! We just wanted our children to have fun and be themselves. Two of Tesco’s Garforth Community Champions were also good enough to help organise the days events and be on hand to help support the children and parents.

The Potty Men - Growing Zone Party

The Potty Men – at the Growing Zone Party

So… last weekend was the inaugural Jigsaw Tree Summer party. We say inaugural as it is something we would like to do every year. The British weather was as reliable as ever and threatened to do its best to ruin our day. Once a few of our parent support group parents and their children turned up it was soon evident that nothing would dampen our spirits.

Within the safe confines of the Growing Zone gardens, the children were allowed to run free. Games and entertainment were provided and everyone brought some food. The stocks and water sponges were the highlight and possibly the most popular event of the day. One certain lad with autism rallied the troops and got everyone involved to throw sponges at him for at least an hour. What a good sport!

There was a bun icing competition at the Growing Zone Party which was judged by the Garforth Lions Gala Queen. The Gala Queen also drew the winning raffle tickets. There were plenty of prizes of wine, chocolate and even a one year website hosting package (design and domain name included) from local business Red Stone Crow. This prize was won by a teen with autism who is keen to start his own gardening business

Three event stall holders gave their time very generously to offer their services for our event. The Little Beck Trust, Sandfire and Tamala Tilo provided pot men making, pyrography wood art and jewellery making activities.

“Everyone got along wonderfully… our kids just clicked and for the first time in ages I got to socialise and actually relax with actual other adults! Thank you The Jigsaw Tree and thank you Growing Zone”.

Parent from the Jigsaw Tree Parent Support Group.

Unlike Lemony Snicket, I don’t think our children could care less about what to wear to a party… a party is about running around, being with friends and having a wild time.