Featured Member: Autism NI

Autism is perhaps not as well understood as it should be. A lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate, how they interact with others and how they ‘make sense’ of the world, it affects roughly 1 in 40 schoolchildren in Northern Ireland.

Autism NI supports individuals and families affected by autism to become integrated and valued members of the community. Founded in 1990, the charity provides a number of services through its Family Support team, through autism training and its RAFT Early Intervention Service. The charity also campaigns on the issue of Autism Awareness.

The ‘Making Sense of Autism’ campaign aims to raise awareness of autism in the classroom, workplace and local community.

Austin NI Patron, Q Radio DJ Stephen Clements, says that with a 67% increase of school aged children with autism over the past five years, mandatory autism training for all teachers and classroom assistants is required.

He continues: “In the workplace, just 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment. Autism NI is calling for all businesses across Northern Ireland to take positive steps to become more accessible for individuals with autism – both as valued employees and customers.”

‘Making Sense of Autism’ Family fun days are taking place on 14 April at Belfast City Hall, Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena, Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen and Guildhall Derry/Londonderry and on Saturday 21st April at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex, Lisburn from 1pm – 4pm.

To find out more about how you can support ‘Making Sense of Autism’ email [email protected] or call 028 9040 1729.

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