A new service for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was officially launched by The Cedar Foundation and the Western Trust at Derry Central Library recently.
This specialist service aims to enable adults with ASD to manage barriers that their diagnosis may present by enhancing social and life management skills, reducing isolation and improving access to education, training or employment opportunities as well as access to local social and leisure activities.
There are various elements to this service including for example the Western Adult Autism Advice Service (WAAAS), a ‘One Stop Shop’, delivered quarterly at a variety of library sites throughout the Western Trust area. The WAAAS offers advice, information and a signposting service covering a wide range of supports for adults with autism including housing, education, careers and benefits advice. The service also includes individual support to enhance personal development, peer group sessions, social networking opportunities and a summer activity programme. Cedar delivers this commissioned service across the Western Trust area in partnership with the Western Trust’s Adult ASD Service.
Speaking at the launch Stephen Mathews, Chief Executive of the Cedar Foundation said: “We are delighted to be the delivery partner for this much needed service for adults with ASD in the Western Trust area. We are working with a wide range of organisations to ensure the service effectively supports individuals to develop and sustain their networks of support and be more engaged in their local community, therefore reducing the social isolation often experienced by adults with ASD.”
Dr Tom McCarthy, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for the Western Trust’s Adult ASD Service said: “From a clinical perspective our service regularly comes into contact with adults who have a diagnosis of Autism and require assistance to enable them to fully access local community resources and maintain a high quality of life. From my experience I know that this service has already had a positive impact in the lives of client’s and carers and continuing this work is a priority for the Trusts adult autism services.”