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Tributes paid to valuable service provided at Acorns Autism Centre

Tributes have been paid to the valuable work and resource provided with at the Acorns Autism Centre in Armagh.

The Chief Executive (Interim) of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Paula Clarke paid to meet with young people, parents and staff of the facility.

Based in Armagh, The Acorns is home to the Trust-wide service for autism diagnosis and intervention for children, adults and their families.

Autism is often described as a ‘spectrum disorder’ (ASD) as the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees.acorns 2

Whilst everyone on the autism spectrum shares some particular difficulties, each individual is different, with a wide range of abilities and needs.

Some people with ASD are able to live independent lives, some need assistance at particular times, and others may need a lifetime of specialist support.

Around one in 100 people in the UK have autism with about five times more boys than girls being diagnosed. In Northern Ireland this equates to approximately 5,000 children and over 20,000 individuals of all ages.

Speaking at her visit Paula said: “There are around 3,580 people in the Southern Trust living with ASD and we are very proud to have been the first Trust to develop a centralised hub for all of our clients – children and adults and their families.acorns 3

“Here in this flagship facility, our dedicated team offers the full range of autism services from assessment, diagnosis and a wide range of practical and emotional support and interventions. This includes input from Autism Therapists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapy, Clinical Psychology, Nursing, Wellbeing Practitioners and Autism Support Workers.

“We want to promote an understanding of autism and work closely with a range of community partners and families to help ensure that young people with autism can access the opportunities that many of us take for granted.acorns 4

“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to meet with young people, parents and some of our community partners to hear about the issues that matter to them and to work with staff to ensure that we are always developing and improving the service.”

Pictures: Southern Trust Chief Executive (Interim) Paula Clarke with autism staff from the Acorns centre, community partners, young people and parents, Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Geraldine Maguire, Assistant Director Specialist Children`s and Disability Services, Peadar White, Head of Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Autism Services, Action for Children in Education and Hilary McFaul, Acting Co-ordinator Autism Services.

Southern Trust Chief Executive (Interim) Paula Clarke, Hilary McFaul, Acting Co-ordinator of Autism Services with some Community Partners, Valerie Jenkinson, Service Manager and Karen Gallagher, Pension Wise specialist, Citizens Advice Bureau, Michelle Moult, Outreach Support Worker, Carer`s Matters and Kate Johnston, Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Southern Trust.

Southern Trust Chief Executive (Interim) Paula Clarke with some young people and parents at the Acorns Autism Centre.

Southern Trust Chief Executive (Interim) Paula Clarke with Young People, Paul Duffy and Sarunas Dzinkevicius.

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