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World Autism Awareness Week 2016 – David & Mark’s story

Posted 07:00AM on Tuesday 05 April 2016

David and Mark’s mum Jennifer tells us how life has changed for the better since receiving support from our Lakeland Family Support Service.

“David and Mark are brothers, both of whom have autism, a learning disability and communicate using PECS. David is 14 years old and Mark is 11 years old. We live in rural Fermanagh with very little social outlets available. This can make family life quite difficult. David and Mark both require 1:1 support when taking part in activities to ensure their needs are fully met. We had very little support before a referral was made to Positive Futures for both boys in 2007. This referral came through at an ideal time as our third child, the boys’ younger sister Emma, was born just a year later. Doing activities together as a family was unimaginable as the boys found busy, crowded areas difficult to cope with.

“But then Positive Futures came along. With their support David and Mark have had the opportunity to develop their community living skills and are now supported to engage in meaningful community activities, for example, outdoor walks, going swimming and eating out. These kinds of activities were almost impossible for the boys to participate in when it was just us and caused so much anxiety and stress for the whole family.

“Thanks to the staff team in the Lakeland Family Support Service the boys have also been supported to go to the cinema, an activity which, in the past, was never an option. By providing appropriate support at autism friendly screenings in the local cinema, the boys are now able to watch a 2 hour film. Trips to the cinema are now an important time for us as a family as it’s an opportunity to enjoy doing something together. Emma thoroughly enjoys being able to do a ‘simple activity’ such as going to the cinema with her brothers – something that most people take for granted.

“Living with autism can be difficult and challenging but thanks to Positive Futures we are able to cope much better than we used to. We can’t thank them enough.”

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