Autism Services ‘have a long way to go’

(Back Row) Tim Parr, Positive Futures Autism Outreach Service; Dale Mitchell; Autism Initiatives; Olive Breslin, National Autistic Society, Branch Offier; Michelle Mullan, P.O.C.A; (Front Row) Charlene Bleakley, Education Authority; Marie Burns, Cedar Foundation; Jamie Keys; Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Childrens Services; Dr Mary McDaid, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Autism Services for the Western Trust; Pauric McGrotty, P.O.C.A andRosie Maguire, Mencap.
(Back Row) Tim Parr, Positive Futures Autism Outreach Service; Dale Mitchell; Autism Initiatives; Olive Breslin, National Autistic Society, Branch Offier; Michelle Mullan, P.O.C.A; (Front Row) Charlene Bleakley, Education Authority; Marie Burns, Cedar Foundation; Jamie Keys; Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Childrens Services; Dr Mary McDaid, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Autism Services for the Western Trust; Pauric McGrotty, P.O.C.A andRosie Maguire, Mencap.
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Additional services for children on the autism spectrum are needed, a local consultant has warned.

Dr Mary McDaid was speaking after children with autism and their families joined local health professionals and community based organisations to celebrate World Autism Day recently.

(FR) Almudena Gester, Team Secret, Derry; Kellie Brogan, Social Worker; Sandra Dickson, Senior Social Worker; Dr Mary McDaid, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Autism Services for the Western Trust; Sheila Gamble, Education Authority; Nichola Hetherington, Social Worker; Anne Hamill, Specialist Health Visitor; (BR) Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Childrens Services; Shena O'Roarty, Speech and Language Therapist; Dr Tom McCarthy, Adult ASD Services and Clinical Psychologist Lead for Adult Services; Kiera Quigg, Social Worker

(FR) Almudena Gester, Team Secret, Derry; Kellie Brogan, Social Worker; Sandra Dickson, Senior Social Worker; Dr Mary McDaid, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Autism Services for the Western Trust; Sheila Gamble, Education Authority; Nichola Hetherington, Social Worker; Anne Hamill, Specialist Health Visitor; (BR) Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Childrens Services; Shena O'Roarty, Speech and Language Therapist; Dr Tom McCarthy, Adult ASD Services and Clinical Psychologist Lead for Adult Services; Kiera Quigg, Social Worker

The Western Health Trust hosted the event for those in Derry and the wider western area on Friday. Young people were able to share their own experiences about how autism services in the West have worked for them.

Dr Mary McDaid, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Autism Services for the Western Trust, said: “Additional services are required for children with ASD and their families throughout Northern Ireland and the Western Trust is proactively seeking to enhance service provision to secure additional investment.

“We work in partnership with the Education Authority and voluntary organisations, parents, adults and children to further improve Autism Services.”

Dr McDaid added: “We sincerely thank all Autism organisations working together in the Western Trust area to improve the lives of children with ASD and their families.”

Speaking at the event, Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Children’s Services, said: “This day is an opportunity to recognise the invaluable social activities available through voluntary organisations and parent led groups and to hear from young people about their experiences in relation to this.

“Autism services have come a long way but we still have far to go. It is through organisations collaborating together and working in partnership with the Western Trust that we can continue the innovative work carried out in the West.”