About OJ’s

  • OJ's Social

About OJ’s

OJ’s is a registered charity that provides activities for children with autism, learning difficulties and associated disorders. Our family days and activities are based at various settings across the Ribble Valley and around the Longridge area. We have sole hire and exclusive use of indoor play areas, swimming pools, outdoor activity centres, during the holiday times and sometimes on a Saturday afternoon. We welcome the whole family and we encourage siblings to attend and join in the fun, as we feel that much support is required in this area.

My name is Lisa Donoghue and I set up the charity after experiencing problems with accessing mainstream/public areas with my child who has autism, called Oliver, and my other 3 children. When my two youngest children were babies I came across many difficulties in getting out and about and would resort to staying at home, only tackling trips out that were the most urgent, if on my own with the children.

I would find that some people would not have patience with Oliver which would result in upset within our family. I would be constantly watching the reaction from people to Oliver and if my other children, who were babies at the time, became upset for any reason, then Oliver could become extremely distressed at the noise that they were making and scream loudly, becoming very anxious. This would of looked unusual behaviour for Oliver’s age, to the bystander who didn’t understand his disability. That would be it, everyone upset, trip cancelled and in the car for another drive round. It got so stressful that during the holiday times and being on my own with the children, I would pack a few treats and take the children for a drive, and that would be it….just a drive round and then back again.

If you are reading this and you have a child or family member with autism, I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s not that everyone who you meet is not tolerant of our children, but it’s sometimes the stress of what you feel is going to happen or what has just happened and how you can calm the situation down.

We really welcome contact from new families and carers are welcome to bring children, who they are looking after, to our sessions, thus giving the family a short break.

Oliver is now 17 and I feel that my work within OJ’s coupled with dealing with an extremely busy family life gives me the knowledge to help other families along the way. That could be from first diagnosis to dealing with teenager hood…I am always happy to speak to other parents who experience similar stresses. It’s always good to talk :-)