April 2, marked World Autism Day, and MWB (Midlands West and Border) Autism Support celebrated in a colourful way.
The parent-run support group's request to light up the Market Square in blue to celebrate was granted, and they held a leaflet day in town, offering information on the organisation.
While all their work may not be as visible to the public, the group are always busy behind the scenes, offering all manner of supports and activities to its members.
“The group Is based in Longford where most of the families live, as well as having families from Leitrim Roscommon and Westmeath,” a spokesperson explained, going on to give a run down of the events of the past year; “Support is an important part of the group function so we held a monthly support meeting in Longford.”
Social outings also form an important aspect of the organisation, and in 2015 alone group members enjoyed cinema trips, exercise sessions, basketball, a picnic, bowling, an egg hunt, kayaking, a disco, orienteering, boat rides, Halloween and Christmas parties, go-karting and decoration making.
In August, extra camps, events and activities were organised including a clay day, soft play and bowling, swimming, horse riding, drama, games and even a trip to a pet farm.
Throughout the year, to directly help the members who are on the ASD spectrum, a number of specialists were invited to facilitate therapies and workshops, such as play therapy, drawing, dance and mindfulness, which all proved to be very enjoyable and worthwhile.
While they try to accomodate all needs, abilities and age groups, some members find it hard to socialise, so MWB Autism Support also provide a summer grant for family groups.
“Another way we have of helping individuals on ASD spectrum is indirectly by helping the parents/Guardians to deal with the consequences of having an ASD person or persons in the family,” the spokesperson continued, revealing that they offer information on courses and therapies, the cost of which they often subsidise. “Support meetings are the norms for parents/guardians but also there are meetings with guest speakers on subject such as; nutrition, behaviour management and making a will,” the spokesperson revealed.
Acknowledging the kind generosity of the region, who have supported the groups efforts by raising the necessary funds, the spokesperson thanked all who have donated or organised an event over the past eight years.
They then added; “The emblem of the group is the Oak tree and the individual with ASD are the little acorns. With care, support and the right input we hope they will grow into mighty oak trees.”
To get in touch with MWB Autism Support, or for more information, search for the group on Facebook or visit www.mwbautism.com