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World Autism Awareness Day 02 April 2022


Western Trust Autism Team

The Western Trust are hosting a number of virtual events this week leading up to World Autism Awareness Day (02 April 2022) which brings together a wide range of services involved in supporting children, young people and adults living with Autism across the Western Trust area.

The focus this year has been on increasing understanding of autism and neurodiversity within our various professions across the Western Trust Area, who in their day to day roles may provide services to autistic people.

Opening Autism Awareness Week 2022, Dr Thomas McCarthy, Consultant Clinical Lead Psychologist for the Adult Autism Service said: “This week is an opportunity to increase understanding of autism and neurodiversity across the Western Trust area. We as a Trust know how difficult the past two years have been for everyone in society and in particular those living with ASD, parents and carers who have faced tremendous challenges due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“I wish to acknowledge the collaborative working and the partnerships which have been strengthened (albeit virtually) with our many partners during this past two years and hope this innovative work will continue in the West in the coming months and years as we come out of this pandemic.”

Dr Mary McDaid, Consultant Clinical Lead Psychologist and Head of Children and Young People’s Autism Services for the Western Trust said: “Following recent investment we are delighted to launch our Children and Young People’s Early Intervention Service which will provide a variety of early support sessions for children, young people, parents and carers as they commence their journey within our service.”

“We acknowledge the increasing number of referrals to Children and Young People’s ASD resulting in waiting lists for access to services and anticipate that this early intervention will provide tailored support for children, young people and their families. The Western Trust will continue to proactively seek additional resources to support the increasing demand for Autism Services across the lifespan.”

“We sincerely thank all organisations working together in the Western Trust area to improve the lives of children, young people and adults with ASD and their families.”

A range of online training workshops for professionals are been facilitated by clinical staff from across Children and Adults Autism and Psychological Therapies – Behaviour Support Service throughout the week.

A training session entitled “Preparing for the Teen Years,” has been organised by the Children and Young People’s ASD service for parents/carers of young people with autism (30th March 2022).

On World Autism Awareness Day (2nd April 2022), Derry City and Strabane District Council are hosting a workshop for parents, families and professionals entitled, “Become a Hero for Autistic Children,” by inspirational speaker Jude Morrow.

Click here for information on these workshops. We would encourage everyone to get involved in increasing understanding and acceptance of Autism using our hashtag #WTWAAD2022.