Mother of 2 and Spectrum Festival organiser Gemma Hall is celebrating her 39th Birthday by giving SEND parents the greatest gift of all! A safe, fun, and all-accepting space for children, young people and adults with autism to live out some of their wildest dreams…

Spectrum Festival is a yearly event that takes place in Derbyshire and has become a popular refuge for those with autism to access opportunities that many of them miss due to the vast number of prejudices in a ‘neurotypical’ society.


It all began about 5 years ago when Gemma experienced a horrific encounter with some parents at a local soft play centre.

“One person was telling me that my kids were weird and that they shouldn’t be in places like that. They then told their own children ‘Not to play with those weird kids’”, Gemma stated.

“I tried to explain that my son has autism and that is why he can be very tactile. I politely suggested that he should educate himself and learn a little about it, so which he responded, ‘I don’t need to educate myself, because my kids aren’t weird’.

I was so upset; I’d never experienced anything like that. I didn’t know people could be that nasty”.

This traumatic experience is what inspired Gemma and her husband to start Spectrum Festival, a space where parents and their children are free from judgement and the ignorance of others.

Gemma said: “You’re around friends, and you don’t even know who they are, and nobody’s going to judge you. Nobody’s going to criticise your parenting, nobody’s going to pass judgement, nobody’s going to threaten you with verbal or physical violence, and everybody completely understands what’s happening”.

What makes this event so spectacular is the way it creates a solely none-judgemental environment. Every year each person that attends has knowledge and understanding of what it means to be autistic or a parent/sibling/carer to an autistic person.

In addition, there is just so much to do at this event! There is absolutely no chance of boredom since there is something for everyone. A quiet place to sit and eat? It’s there. Somewhere to climb, jump, zip about and be yourself. It’s ALL there.

Here are some of the activities included:

•      Silent Disco

•      Zip Wire

•      Bush Craft

•      Informative Exhibits

•      Magician

•      Lighsaber School

•      Cooking Classes

•      High Ropes

•      Mobile Zoo

•      Climbing Wall

•      Pedal Cars

•      Food stalls

•      And more!

Another bonus to Spectrum Festival is that we will be there too! Sunshine Support will be running their own stall with merchandise and more. Come along and meet some of our wonderful team…

Book you tickets here (limited spaces left!): www.spectrumautismfestival.co.uk 

DON’T FORGET, wish Gemma the happiest of birthdays and for giving us this wonderful gift…

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