Support for Children with Autism & Their Families

The Childhood Autism Service exists to empower and support children and young people with autism, aged up to 18 years of age and their families, in County Mayo. The service works with autistic children of all abilities. This service supports families and children to access appropriate opportunities to learn and develop their potential and to live as equal citizens.

We are working to achieve this through the provision of quality services, informed by internationally recognised standards of best practice, delivered in an individualised, innovative and flexible manner to provide comprehensive support to children and their families. We are committed to providing professional and clinical services that facilitate and enable each family and child to work towards and achieve their unique personal outcomes.

The Service is based on the following core values and beliefs:

  • The team strives to work in partnership with children and their families. We respect that the parents are the experts regarding their child and that they may require support to enable them to make sense of and use this expertise. We will endeavour to assist parents to access balanced information to make informed decisions.
  • We recognise the role of other services in supporting these children, both within the Association and from other agencies, statutory and non-statutory, in particular the Department of Education and HSE West. We aim to work in partnership with them to offer quality service provision to the children and their families.
  • We are committed to enabling children and young people to become valued members of their community, and recognise the importance of working towards inclusion and inclusive opportunities.
  • The Service works to utilise and enable communities to accommodate and support the differences in the young people we support.  We endeavour to do this by facilitating change within community-based organisations and general attitudes within local communities.
  • The Service recognises the need for accountability, in particular for the quality of the services offered and the effectiveness of the delivery. We believe that it is therefore essential to monitor and evaluate the achievements and skills of children and young people using a range of assessment procedures, using approaches that focus on achievements, abilities, strengths and potential of the children and young people.
  • The Service is committed to an evidence-based approach to the understanding of autism and of interventions and is committed to developing in line with emerging research findings. The Service will seek to contribute to this knowledge base through research and dissemination of our work and experiences.
  • Team members bring a unique contribution through their individual experiences and knowledge. The Service is committed to the continuing professional development of it's members.
  • The team works with respect and empathy for children, young people and their families, being open and honest in relationships. Respecting and maintaining confidentiality is an integral aspect of the Service.

What can you Expect?

The Autism Team works with children with autism and their families from the time of diagnosis through to the transition to adulthood.
 
The Autism Service is separated into an Early Intervention and School Age Service.
 
Early Intervention support is generally more intensive than that of the school age service as we believe that supports in the early years (0-6 yrs) are crucial.  Also once the child enters education, the Department of Education and Science becomes the primary provider and we provide secondary supports where necessary. 

            The Early Intervention Service (0 - 6 years)

 
This service provides support to the child and family from the point of diagnosis through the transition to primary school.
 
We provide home-based and/or community preschool based services.
  • Determine the families priorities and provide support to meet these priorities.
  • Develop each child's skills, using detailed individually planned learning programmes within the home, the preschool and elsewhere.
  • Provide information to families to support their understanding and to enable them to make informed choices and decisions.
  • Support the family, including sibilings, to develop mutual understanding and promote changes to accomodate the child.
  • Develop the child's experience of the community, especially of local play and preschools and the skills that support community presence.
  • Provide specialist support and advice to individual preschools to enable them to ensure the fullest integration possible for each child.
  • Support the family and child through the transition to school.

The Early Intervention Service ends on the child's admission to school.

            The School Age Service (6 - 18 years)
 
This service provides support to the child and family from the point of school entry (or diagnosis, if this is later) to school leaving.
 
For this group of children, the Department of Education has the primary responsibility for intervention services, however, the children and family may continue to require access to additional specialist, autism specific services. In addition HSE is responsible for provision of Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physiotherapy for school age children.
 
We provide home and/or community based services, as these are the principle and natural environments for the child and family outside of school. These supports can include Social Work, Psychology, Behaviour Support and /or Autism Resource Worker.
 
The support for school age children and their families aims to provide age-appropriate opportunities to enhance the child's personal, social and leisure opportunities as part of an inclusive community.  This is seen as an important contribution to the child/youth to develop as an independent and competent adult.
 
 
We do this by:
  • Determine the families priorities and provide support to meet these priorities.
  • Developing each child's skills, using detailed, individually planned learning.
  • Supporting the family, including siblings, to develop mutual understanding and promote the changes necessary to accommodate the child.
  • Developing the child's experience of the community, recognising the importance of age-appropriate activities and the skills that support community presence.
  • Providing specialist support and advice to the Department of Education and individual schools to enable them to develop appropriate services for the child.
  • Supporting the child and family through the school leaving  process.
  • Encouraging and supporting continuity of experience between schools, home and elsewhere.
The School Age Service ends when the young person leaves school or turns 18, whichever is later.
 
Contact & Address Details
Head of Children's Autism Services
Western Care Association
John Moore Road
Castlebar
Co. Mayo
 
Telephone:      094 9025133
Email:             info@westerncare.com