Ambitious about Autism

Holiday Playschemes for Children with Autism

It has been a TreeHouse ambition and commitment to provide services to children with autism and their families beyond the standard school working day and school term. Activities outside school hours enable children to enjoy being with friends, develop new skills, stay healthy and have fun.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1063184)




  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Sports/RecreationSports/Recreation


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



The complex needs of children with autism mean activities must be specifically tailored by those with autism-specific play training and designed to fit into the lives of families struggling with caring for a disabled child. Families using existing TreeHouse provision have identified the chronic shortage of suitable and safe recreational play outside school hours for children and young people with autism. Local providers confirm these findings – all have long waiting lists and limitations on the age range and level of severity of disability they are able to cater for. In May 2008 TreeHouse and Resources for Autism (RfA) piloted a half term playscheme for TreeHouse pupils. This partnership combined the skills and experience of the two organisations and the scheme was popular and well attended. Following the success of the pilot TreeHouse is seeking a grant to provide further half term and holiday playschemes. Sessions will cater for different age groups with morning activities for 4-9 years olds and afternoon groups for those aged 10-15. Activities will include cooking, art, music, PE and games. Funding is required to cover the costs of providing the venue, playworkers, resources, toys and consumables eg. cooking ingredients, art materials etc. and, in particular, transport to and from TreeHouse. TreeHouse families rely on transport services provided by their Local Authority to collect their children and take them to and from school, as for the majority of TreeHouse pupils their disability is so severe, that using public transport is just not possible. How children and families will benefit: Play and ‘fun activities’ are a fundamental ingredient in any child’s development but particularly for children with autism, where there is no inherent desire to play and interact with others. Access to the holiday playscheme will enhance pupils’ social interaction and communication, improve their physical agility, help them learn new skills and, most importantly, just have fun. Families will also benefit by having a break from their caring responsibilities to focus solely on their other typically developing children. Siblings can relax and enjoy time with their parents away from the constraints of day to day life with an autistic brother or sister who, by virtue of their condition, demands so much attention. One year's cost to run one playscheme is £8,452.