Western Adult Autism Service officially launched

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane Council Jim McKeever recently joined us to launch our service for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Western Health & Social Care Trust (Western Trust) area at Derry Central Library.

This specialist service, commissioned by the Western Trust's Adult ASD Service, aims to enable adults with ASD to manage barriers that their diagnosis may present by enhancing social and life management skills, reducing isolation and improving access to education, training or employment opportunities as well as access to local social and leisure activities. There are various elements to this service including for example the Western Adult Autism Advice Service (WAAAS), a ‘One Stop Shop’, delivered quarterly at a variety of library sites throughout the Western Trust area. The WAAAS offers advice, information and a signposting service covering a wide range of supports for adults with autism including housing, education, careers and benefits advice. The service also includes individual support to enhance personal development, peer group sessions, social networking opportunities and a summer activity programme.

Speaking at the launch our Chief Executive, Stephen Mathews,WAAAS Launch pic said: “We are delighted to be the delivery partner for this much needed service for adults with ASD in the Western Trust area.  We are working with a wide range of organisations to ensure the service effectively supports individuals to develop and sustain their networks of support and be more engaged in their local community, therefore reducing the social isolation often experienced by adults with ASD.”

Dr Tom McCarthy, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for the Western Trust’s Adult ASD Service said: “From a clinical perspective our service regularly comes into contact with adults who have a diagnosis of Autism and require assistance to enable them to fully access local community resources and maintain a high quality of life. From my experience I know that this service has already had a positive impact in the lives of client’s and carers and continuing this work is a priority for the Trusts adult autism services.”

Louis Culkin as a parent spoke at the launch. He spoke of his son Daniel who was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome at the age of twenty having travelled through primary and secondary education without him being noticed or diagnosed. Louis told of his despair at times over his son and his future but then he would recall the words of Canon James Mc Dyer who said" better to light a candle than curse the darkness".

Daniel has gone back to college, lives at home and the Cedar Foundation came on board last year under the Right 4U:-) One of the staff, Anne Marie, meets Daniel once a week to discuss college and any other issues important to him. That meeting has become an integral part of Daniels week. Louis compared the Right 4U:-) support to that candle.

In conclusion he wished the project well in their launch and hoped that it would be there for Daniel in the coming years to walk the road of life with him.



WAAAS Launch pic 2

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