Autism Awareness Month is in full swing in Derry as locals put their shoulder to the wheel in an attempt to increase fundraising in the area for the charity, Autism NI.
Autism NI has had a host of dedicated supporters for many years and the hard work and dedication has been the lifeblood of the local charity branches.
The selfless hours offered by active members of the Autism NI Derry Branch has boosted the organisation and increased its public profile.
Recent fundraising endeavours have included locals abseiling from Belfast’s Europa Hotel and 18 local families affected by Autism were taken on a memorable trip to Euro Disney last year. The money raised by these events go towards continuing to provide life changing services for the 20,000 people affected by Autism within Northern Ireland and will help provide an invaluable helpline service for families in need of advice and guidance from the early stages of a child’s development.
The Learning Support Unit at St Columb’s College is a crucial resource for pupils who have Special Educational Needs. Pupils with Autism can reap benefits in terms of increased motivation, concentration and interaction and, whilst sometimes they are unwilling to participate in situations which rely upon social or verbal interactions, these advanced computer technologies offer an attractive alternative.
The games programmes on offer also provide a good opportunity for pupils to work alongside one another which has the potential to build relationships within the classroom environment. Pupils are also able to present their written work on the computer and therefore not have to suffer difficulties with fine motor skills and things like handwriting.
Parents are driving the fundraising for the new equipment for the school with a bucket collection and a dance. All members of the school community, the pupils, staff, families and friends are encouraged to support the upcoming events during Autism Awareness Month.
Without the fantastic commitment which volunteers continue to show, the events organised by Autism NI would not be so successful and the charity conveys its deepest gratitude to all those who have donated to the cause. The next fundraising dance takes place at Pitchers Restaurant on Saturday, 27 April with Co. Down entertainer Marty Fay & The Bandinos providing the entertainment and it promises to be a great night.
Tickets are priced at £5 per head, £15 for a two course dinner and ticket or £17 for a three course dinner and ticket. Doors open at 9 30pm.