A partnership between the government and a charity is improving the lives of children with autism and their families.
The Department of Education and Children (DEC) and Autism in Mann (AiM) have started a project to help improve the outcomes for children affected by autistic spectrum conditions (ASC), their schools and their families.
AiM, which was established in 1991 by two parents and which supports families affected by autistic spectrum conditions, approached the DEC with the idea for the project.
Figures from the National Autistic Society show around 1.1 per cent of the school population have ASC.
The key to the initiative was identifying a specialist teacher of autism.
Carole Williams recently retired as a primary school special needs unit manager and has many years’ experience working with children with autism. She undertook further, specialist training in the UK prior to embarking on the project.
Carole’s initial focus is supporting children of secondary school age. She spends time with them at school and, where appropriate, at home. She is also delivering training to teaching staff and providing drop-in workshops for parents.
Sue Marriott, special educational needs adviser with the DEC, said: ‘The department is pleased to be working jointly with one of our parent groups and feedback on the project so far is encouraging, indicating that it is already having a significant impact on schools, families and, most importantly, young people themselves.’
Mrs Marriott added ‘Parents have commented on the quality of Carole’s advice. She supports them and their children to develop strategies and gives them the confidence and belief to deal with the challenges of this condition.’
Referrals to Carole can be made through AiM and the DEC’s services for children division by phoning 686059.
The drop-in workshops take place at the Annie Gill Building at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education. The next ones are being held this Thursday (May 1) and on July 3, both from 1pm to 3pm.
Anyone unable to attend a session and who would like further information about the project, can contact AiM on 480167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org