MORE than 120 young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from across the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area have been enjoying a wide range of summer activity schemes.
From water sports to art and drama, the programme aims to offer young people with ASD a range of activities throughout the summer months to help them develop new skills and enjoy positive social experiences.
The schemes have been organised through the ‘Turning the Curve’ project which supports young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder to transition from full time education into adulthood. It provides individualised personal and social support to help young people find the best training, employment and recreational/leisure opportunities to suit their needs. Turning the Curve is funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme through CAWT (the cross border health and social care partnership).
Lesley Waugh, the co-ordinator for Autism Services for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said: “Autism is one of the most common developmental disabilities in Northern Ireland. It is a lifelong disability and whilst it varies from person to person, all individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder will have problems in social communication, social interaction and imagination. Some people will need help only at specific times in their life whilst others may need ongoing support to live well.
“Throughout term time our young people have built up their skills and confidence by participating in a range of educational and work placements. We are keen to ensure that they continue to develop their potential throughout the summer break, so are delighted to be able to offer such a wide range of stimulating activities this year. All the young people have really enjoyed the schemes they have taken part in. We hope that as well as learning new skills or taking on new challenges, that they have made new friends and had lots of fun.”
Summer schemes which took place across the Southern area this year included The Sheridan Stage School, Newry, East Coast Adventure, Warrenpoint, Brownlow Girls Programme, Graffiti Art at Lurgan Recycling Centre, Armagh Fire Station.