Wexford Autism group raising awareness locally

David Looby

Published 13/10/2015 | 00:00

Board members at the Ferrycarrig Hotel (from left), back, Maria Banville, Catherine O'Brien, Vera Delaney, Lisa Devlin and Margaret McDonald; front, Pauline Byrne (treasurer), Servaas Dodebier (chairman) and Mag Furness (secretary).
Board members at the Ferrycarrig Hotel (from left), back, Maria Banville, Catherine O'Brien, Vera Delaney, Lisa Devlin and Margaret McDonald; front, Pauline Byrne (treasurer), Servaas Dodebier (chairman) and Mag Furness (secretary).

A new board has been announced for Wexford based Cottage Autism Network (CAN).

CAN was established in 2004 by a group of parents who wanted to address the gap in support for parents and children whose families were affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over the past 11 years, CAN have been part of a growing support movement both nationally and internationally in addressing the social, educational, health and service needs of children and their families.

In County Wexford, the network has grown from strength to strength and has accomplished much for parents and children. This support has been enhanced through the increased development of education, health and social services for children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The voluntary board of directors are: Chairperson Servas Dodebier, Vice Chairperson Vera Delaney, Secretary Mags Furness, Treasurer Pauline Byrne, PR Marie Banville, directors Catherine O'Brien, Margaret McDonald and Lisa Devlin.

A CAN spokesperson said: 'CAN has engaged successfully in raising awareness in the local and wider community and to this end the network has had very positive support from the public through fundraising activities and awareness raising events. The network has undertaken very successful fundraising campaigns and this funding have enabled CAN to provide training and education workshops for parents and families, occupational therapy for children, development of literature and leaflets for public awareness, respite for families and has contributed to the capacity of the network to negotiate on policy and impact on greater efficiency of services and supports.'

CAN's strategic plan highlights the key proposed actions which will be undertaken during 2015-2016.

'With our newly formed board of management each member has brought many skills and new ideas to the group. CAN endeavours to return primarily to supporting parents of children with Autism through regular meet up's, parent training, arranging and facilitating activities for children with ASD and their siblings.'

It has also been decided to reduce the membership fee from January 2016, which will now make the group more accessible to everybody.

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