Parent Eddie Scott lives in Bo'ness and took part in the pilot programme.
"Our wee boy David is quite severely autistic and has learning difficulties. At that time he couldn't talk and wouldn't eat or drink. He had a feeding tube straight into his stomach, which had to be changed regularly in hospital under anaesthetic. Very distressing for anybody, but especially for an autistic child. Screaming, shouting and tantrums were common then.
"What we learned on the programme was to prepare him weeks in advance, so he could be comfortable and relaxed. So instead of saying `Right, David, we're off to hospital now' and everyone panicking, we'd talk through what was going to happen when he went into the hospital, the ward, and got his weight and height taken. We learned to rehearse it all with him.
"It maybe sounds silly, but they brought out a toy doctor's set, with stethoscope, mirrors and a hammer for your knees. We rehearsed David with that, showed him what the doctor would do, let him listen to his own chest.
"With autistic children, it's all about planning and priming and making them aware how they can cope if something unexpected happens. We learned that the senses are completely different in autistic kids. I'd no idea noise or different colours could be painful. So if David thinks a loud noise might happen now, he sticks his fingers in his ears.
"Our little boy used to chew anything hard and cold. He once ate through our coffee table. We learned it was stress relief. The texture gave him comfort. So we've now bought him things he can chew on."
"As a parent of an autistic child, you can feel isolated and that your situation is worse than anyone else's. So getting to meet other parents on the programme was really good. You realised they had problems similar to yours, and ways of dealing with them you hadn't thought of.
"It is never going to be easy when you have a child with autism. But it is easier than it was. Nowadays, we're kind of experts, but we were hopeless then. The Daldorch programme was the first thing that made a difference. It was a light being switched on."
Photo: Tanya Tennant, left, leads a drama session at the Daldorch House School and Continuing Education Centre in Catrine, Ayrshire. Credit: Tom Finnie