Shop owner lends support to Kids

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An Ilkeston business woman who started a support group for parents of children with autism has seen it grow since its formation a year ago.

Jen Clarke owns Cutie Pie on Bath Street which sells a range of items such as hand made bath bombs, soaps and shampoos. She formed Kids Illness and Disability Support (Kids) last year and there are now more than 200 people involved.

Its aim, she said, is to help other mums and dads in Ilkeston to have someone to chat to, and is a chance for the kids to get together in a place where they won’t get judged for being themselves.

Jen said: “I have two kids with autism and have met other people who also have kids with autism. I didn’t realise that so many children have it.

“We try and make it a bit easier for the parents by giving them a pamper basket or something like that so they can relax.

“We also do parties which is a chance for the kids to be free, so if they want to have a paddy on the floor they can.

She added: “People see a kid crying in the street and think it’s a naughty child without knowing the situation - it’s actually a kid with autism. At the parties they can do what they want.”

Jen is a mother of four and one of her children also has sensory process disorder which means he feels sensations, such as wind on his face, more than other people.

The group are holding a couple of meetings over the summer in parks. These are free and people are welcome to go along. Pop into Cutie Pie for more information.

“We want people to get involved and we want people to know we’re here,” added Jen.