A GROUP of Runcorn parents dedicated to spreading awareness about autism are taking a permanent stand by getting tattoos to symbolise their fight.

Michelle Wooding, Sam McClure and Kerrie Ross all have family members affected by autism and are encouraging people to join them by getting a tattoo on April 6 to raise at least £750 for inclusive charities in the town.

The event will take place at LA Tattoo in Regent Street.

Sam explained: “A tattoo is there, it’s permanent on you, and your child or adult with autism is permanently with you- it’s very, very personal.

"It’s for anyone who has a connection to autism- we’ve got guys with autism who are getting a tattoo too.

"The tattoo shop is putting on refreshments- they are brilliant and all for charity."

Michelle also added: “I’m going to have the jigsaw piece which is the great symbol of autism because everyone with autism is an individual- they may have similarities but no two people with autism are the same.

“It’s a very complex condition and a lot of people with autism do have additional needs too and even though it’s out there in the public eye more now, it’s still very misunderstood because it’s hidden."

The mums say the most frequent comment they receive about their children with autism is that they do not look like they have it, but they stress that autism is a difficult issue that can take many different forms.

Michelle has been through four educational tribunals to fight for the right education for her son after he was signed off by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

She said: “From my point of view, I’ve had four educational tribunals and on my second tribunal I won a high court hearing against my council.

“I’m very proud that I’m in the statute books, very proud of that.

“But what I would say is, you’re going back 10 years there, and austerity and cut backs were not as desperate as they are now.

“Even 10 years ago, despite evidence, you’re still put through it.

“What I’m trying to get across here is that you’re living your everyday life supporting that person.”

Runcorn and Widnes World: Michelle's son with Mark Brady from Lloyds BankMichelle's son with Mark Brady from Lloyds Bank

Through his parent’s support, Michelle’s son, now 20, was successful in winning a place in BBC's Class Act for the most talented disabled actors.

He was able to make the final 32, demonstrating what he could achieve with the right support.

Sam said that the funding available for schools to successfully address autism through the correct support is not enough.

She said: “You are constantly battling.

"I’ve never been one for labels but, in this day and age, for you to get the correct support and the right help for your child, or adult, you must have a label.

“My child was told he was naughty child, he was just misbehaving, and then I started getting these diagnoses.

“We're just raising awareness that we know there are cuts and that schools are struggling and it’s not their fault, but autism is still there."

Lloyds Bank Runcorn Old Town branch, which Michelle commends for its consideration of others, is also helping support the charity tattoo event.

Mark Brady from the branch will be getting a tattoo, sponsored by staff members.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Michelle's son with Lloyds Bank staffMichelle's son with Lloyds Bank staff

The first charity which will benefit is Halton Autistic Family Support Group (HAFS).

Michelle said: “HAFS get no core funding, but they have recently opened a charity shop based in Runcorn.

“The people who originally set the group up about 15 years ago, they were just two families.

“They both have family members with autism, and they set it up because they were just not getting the help and services they needed.

“All those years later, they are still involved with it- they’re so passionate about it.”

Sam continued: “The other charity is the ELLA (Exclusion Limits Life’s Achievements) performance group.

“It is a group which is for everyone, so you have disabilities and you have abilities, and it ranges from the age of five up to 72.

“It’s a unique group and everyone in it has a chance.

“The main thing it does is build people's confidence.”

The mums hope that through their tattoo fundraising event, people will be able to understand more about autism.

Sam said: “A lot of people don’t see the background and the struggles of everyday life and the battle to get people there, to go and live in society, to go and follow their dreams.

Michelle added: "Support is key because for you to achieve, you need that.

“It’s about finding what suits the individual.”

To find out more about the charity event, visit the Facebook page.