What People Say
Comments from Parents about our Support Groups
"My son was diagnosed with Autism in May 2011 and at that time, I didn't understand or know anything about it. I was then sent on a two day course to tell me more about Autism which I thought this was useless. I've been learning myself but didn't know how to approach the issues with school, I then contacted Autism NI and enquired about any local support groups. Since that call, it took a week to set up my own support group which the Family Support Officer was more than happy to help with. Since the group started, I have found out so much information from other parents."
"Lisburn Support Group is a life saver, not only after first diagnosis when you need someone who has first hand experience of coping with a child with Autism but also during what seems to be long summer months. Our children love routine and with no school there is a vacuum in their lives. Without the locally organised summer scheme and trips which our local committee effectively organises, it would be a nightmare for our children and for us parents. The children look forward to them and they provides experiences that they normally would not be available to us."
"Being a member of a positive, supportive, informative Autism NI Support Group allows a parent/carer to understand and accept the reality of Autism as well as empowering and supporting them in their struggle to find and obtain whatever services are necessary to enable their child to reach their full potential."
Comment from a Parent about our RAFT Service
"I have just finished a 6 week program from the RAFT Team. This program has been totally invaluable to my family, and without sounding over dramatic it has honestly been life-changing from the first two weeks. To have someone to talk to openly and honestly about the daily struggles of a child with Autism and not to feel judged but genuinely supported was amazing.
My 8 year old son can be very anxious especially at night when going to bed; he could be up and down 15+ times a night. After talking things over with the Intervention Officer we came up with bedtime tokens and a social story to help reduce his anxiety at night time.
From the first week of using these visuals, my son went from getting up 15+ ties a night to just 2 or 3 times. At the end of our 6 week programme, he has gone a whole week without getting out of bed at all, allowing myself to have some much needed 'mummy time' as my son calls it.
His anxiety levels have gone from one hundred down to ten with the beautiful, colourful visual aids and social stories that the Intervention Officer has tailored to my son's need. This is only one of the many things that we have talked through and helped with over the weeks as I have had many other struggles which were helped with visual aids.
I now have a happier and much more confident little boy and I can honestly say I feel I have a lot more knowledge and above all assurance in moving forward and all in just 6 weeks. THank you to the RAFT Team for all of your help and support over these last weeks."
Comments from Professionals
"The help and support and advice of our major autism charity, Autism NI, along with that of the other autism charities has been invaluable in bringing forward this bill. I thank the members of the Health Committee, along with the members of the All-party Group on Autism, for their support to date and look forward to their continued support as the bill progresses through the remainder of its stages."
Dominic Bradley (SDLP, Newry and Armagh)
"The most effective lobby of politicians that took place was the parents of children with Autism coming up to the assembly and bringing their children with them and allowing them to explain first hand to us how the whole government system had failed them and what was required regarding changes around legislation actually effectively help these children and help future generations of children with Autism. This was definitely the most effective lobby group there has been in 7-8 years of the existence of this assembly." Jonathan Craig (DUP, Lisburn)
DUP North Down MLA, Alex Easton, after meeting with representatives of Autism NI has praised them for the work that they have done in highlighting the suffering of those from Autism Spectrum Disorder and their carers. "People with Autism have suffered in silence for a very long time however Autism NI has given individuals with ASD and their carers a voice in fighting for their rights of access to care and support. Autism NI not only have the person with Autism at heart but their family and carer also. Autism NI can be assured that they have a friend in me and my part." Alex Easton MLA (DUP, North Down)
"People with Autism have long-suffered from a service deficit here in Northern Ireland and it is great to see firsthand the fantastic support that Autism NI provide to people with Autism and their families. The SDLP hope that through the passing of the Bill, this will give Autism recognition as a social and developmental disorder under the Disability Discrimination Act and will help ensure that people with Autism have access to the services they require throughout all of their lives." Margaret Ritchie former MP (SDLP, South Down)
"The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety consider that Autism NI's ASD Training Service offers an excellent resource for organisation and individuals working with children and adults with ASD. We comment this service!" DHSS&PS
"Westminster recognises Autism NI as the National Autism organisation of Northern Ireland and commends the organisations innovative work responding to families with ASD." Early Day Motion 467
"Autism NI is a genuine trailblaxer - it provides invaluable support to families with young children from the time when they are awaiting diagnosis to preschool training. It knows that early intervention is vital for children with Autism and has worked tirelessly to ensure these families get the attention and support they need." Niall Dickson - Chief Executive of the Kings Fund
Comments from Young People with ASD
"I learned something new and got more confident with skills like communication." Male, Aged 23
'I think (being on the project) helped me understand more and to be more confident with giving my opinion." Male, Aged 16