Mayor of Derry & Strabane Colr. John Boyle launched a new Active Autism project for local adults on the spectrum.
Local organisation, Autism Initiative’s new project was launched in Holywell Trust, where some of the activities will take place.
Launching the project on Friday, the Mayor said: “Even though there is a growing awareness of Autism, there is still a serious lack of support for individuals on the autistic spectrum.
“With the support of The Honourable, The Irish Society, and building on the foundation that has been laid by the Floating Support Service funded through the Northern Ireland Housing Executive Supporting People, this project will provide an activity base for Service Users and alleviate social isolation.”
The launch was attended by over 40 people from a wide range of organisations.
Also speaking at the event was Sarah Mullan, one of the service users and beneficiaries of the programme. At school Sarah was bullied because of her Autism. She said: “Autism is a life-long condition that doesn’t go away. It is often a seemingly hidden condition that isn’t always recognisable and therefore one that some people find difficult to understand. Isn’t it strange that not looking like I have Autism only serves to exacerbate my condition?
“The Active Autism programme would allow me to socialise with my own peer group where I would feel more comfortable and be able to explore things that I like to do.”
Acting Autism Initiatives’ National Director, Eamonn Slevin, said: “Active Autism is an exciting opportunity for our Housing Floating Support service to engage their clients with group based physical, social and learning activities. Combining physical activities like walking or cycling with social activities such as meals out or cinema trips creates an environment where accessing these community spaces does not seem so daunting. Likewise Active Autism will engage their clients in practical learning activities including financial planning and cooking skills, which are a key component in sustaining independence,” said Mr. Slevin.