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29 May 2022

First FAI camp for autistic children piloted in Longford hailed a success

Autism camp

At the first FAI Camp for autistic children which was piloted in Longford and took place in Abbeycartron were from left to right; Siobhan Cronogue, Antoinette Dolan, Bernadette Moran, Sarah Jermyn, Am

A two day summer camp for children with autism was held last week in Abbeycartron.

Josephine Feeney, one of the founding members of Longford Inclusion Summer Camps said, "I just want to say a massive thank you to Graham Kane, FAI Development Officer and his coaches and Siobhan Cronogue, Longford PPN Development Officer for helping us make this camp happen. Their support and understanding ensured the camp was a great success.”

Josephine explained, “I started Longford Inclusion Summer Camps in 2019 with four other mothers, who had the same vision and hopes of running a camp for Autistic Children in the summer of 2020.”

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted their plans for last year, however, Josephine said they were delighted to get this opportunity to run something for their children this year.

Josephine added, “All the children had a wonderful time, New friends were made, and all the parents had the pleasure of watching their children have fun and be a part of an activity outside of school. Even the parents got to make new friends with other parents. Inclusion means everything to us, it makes me so happy to see clubs willing to volunteer and include our children in sports.”

Looking to the future, Josephine remarked, “In 2022 we hope to have more camps up and running and we would like to hear from any parent or club who would like to volunteer their time to join us on this journey. We can be contacted on our Facebook page Longford Inclusion Summer Camps. "

Graham Kane, FAI Development Officer said, “It was great to continue our collaboration with Longford PPN and bring our 1st FAI camp for children with Autism to Longford. We are looking at developing and growing this programme in the future and will do this in collaboration with the PPN & the Longford Schoolboy/Girls league. Our aim is to develop a sustainable structure for the children who took part in the camp and create an environment for them to develop and be part of the league structure.”

Siobhán Cronogue, PPN Development Officer said, “I have great admiration for these parents who are fighting for some very basic services and Longford PPN and the FAI will do everything we can to ensure these camps are established and developed.”

Siobhan went on to say: “ We hear a lot of talk in the media about Autism but what is really being done on the ground to make a difference to the lives of these families. The lack of support and services needs to be addressed nationally to ensure inclusivity of all children in society and funding these services is vital.”

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