What People Say....
Comments from Parents
"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 Audrey (Family Support Officer at Autism NI) was more than happy to help with. Since the group started on 25 February, I have found out so much information from other parents and other Autism NI branches."
"I have gotten a better understanding of my son and his disability and that I'm not alone there are many lovely people to help and support us down our bumpy road, so, thank-you so very much."
"Lisburn Branch 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 Branch 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."
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 MLA (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 MLA (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)
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Arlene Cassidy and her team for all their sterling work and persistance that has seen this Bill being brought before the Assembly, I pledge my full support to help families who have loved ones with Autism and commend the ongoing work of Autism NI." Ian McCrea MLA (Mid Ulster)
"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 MP MLA (SDLP Leader and South Down MP)
"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 who attended mentoring projects
"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 be more confident with giving my opinion." Male, Aged 16