SRC to help its staff understand autism

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The Southern Regional College has launched an autism awareness fact sheet for staff, including those based at its Banbridge campus.

The idea of the initiative is to make staff increasingly aware of the condition, which is a life-long disability that affects people in different ways.

The launch was held recently and was attended by J0-Anne Dobson, the Upper Bann MLA who is secretary of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s All Party group on autism.

Mrs Dobson has urged greater understanding of Autism and called for a more joined up approach locally from the health and education departments.

She said, “I commend Southern Regional College management, staff and pupils for highlighting the issue of autism and increasing awareness about the condition through this new initiative.

“Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects people in slightly different ways.

“Difficulties with social interaction, communication and empathy can all have a fundamental impact on a child’s early years and, inevitably, will affect how that child sees the world as they grow up.

“As numbers continue to rise, it is clear that we are facing a major problem and locally it is imperative that the Assembly redoubles its efforts to bring service provision for people on the autism spectrum up to standard.

In order to succeed we need a redoubling of efforts from Ministers and officials across several Departments particularly Health and Education, working in concert with parents and teachers.

“World Autism Awareness Day provides an opportunity for society to pause and reflect on the challenges faced by those individuals and families affected and how we can better understand and help them.”