Autism is a developmental disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life. Individuals with autism have difficulty in communication and social interaction. Many organizations open their doors to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it is not the same for adults dealing with the same developmental condition.
But an organization located in Derry, Northern Ireland, believes that providing proper care to adults with ASD is as important as it is for children with the same condition.
So the organization, Autism Initiatives decided to focus on adults with autism. The organization has been working hard to help individuals with autism aged 18 and up to live independently.
"There are very few services out there for adults with autism," said Dale Mitchell, Autism Initiatives Service Manager.
The organization has a "drop-in-center" located in Clooney Terrace, where they help individuals with autism to develop skills, talents and provide them the opportunity to improve their social skills.
"When we started off it was a pilot service catering for four people and it was really a befriending service. At that point we were getting our referrals from all around the place- there was no specialist autism team," said Mitchell.
The organization follows "Five-Point Star" that consists of Adult Peer Group, Community Outreach, Drop In Service, Housing Floating Support and User Forum, to empower adults with autism under their care.
There are 30 people accessing the drop in groups every week. The organization is determined to extend help to even more individuals with autism said Mitchell.
"What we are doing is all about empowerment and it is about helping them to be active citizens. disputes with neighbors, trying to integrate them into whatever groups or hobbies or interests they like. What we are doing is all about empowerment and it is about helping them to be active citizens," said Mitchell.