Derry, Northern Ireland — While a lot of centers are now starting to open their doors to help cater to the special needs of the growing number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the same can not be said for the adults dealing with the same developmental condition.
But one organization based in Derry, Northern Ireland, believes that providing proper care to adults with ASD is just as important as it is for children with the same condition— so they decided to focus on the less cared-for population of those on the spectrum.
Over the past 10 years, Autism Initiatives has been striving to provide every help they can give to adults with autism. The organization has been working hard trying to help individuals with autism aged 18 and up to live independently by helping them develop the necessary life skills that they need.
According to Autism Initiatives Service Manager Dale Mitchell, there are very few services out there for adults with autism.
Today, the organization now has a “drop-in center” located at their base in Clooney Terrace, where they help individuals on the spectrum develop skills and talents, and provide them the opportunity to improve their social skills.
According to Mitchell:
“When we started off it was a pilot service catering for four people and it was really a befriending service. At that point we were getting our referrals from all around the place- there was no specialist autism team.
The organization follows what it calls a “Five-Point Star” to empower the individuals with autism under their care. This so-called “Five-Point Star” consists of Adult Peer Group, Community Outreach, Drop In service, Housing Floating Support, and User Forum. Mitchell added that they have anywhere up to thirty people accessing the drop in groups per week.
Mitchell also added that the organization is determined to extend help to even more individuals on the spectrum. He told:
“What we are doing is all about empowerment and it is about helping them to be active citizens. disputes with neighbours, trying to integrate them into whatever groups or hobbies or interests they like. What we are doing is all about empowerment and it is about helping them to be active citizens.”
Source: Derry Journal: Helping adults with autism establish independence