Support for disadvantaged families living with children who have ASD

Our project with YMCA Ireland’s Parents and Kids Together (PAKT) provides support for disadvantaged families who are living with children with ASD. There are high numbers of young people referred to PAKT who are either diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum or awaiting diagnosis. They display many challenging behaviours which need expertise. Many parents are overwhelmed, do not know how to support their children and cannot access services that could help them. Amidst all these challenges many parents are very articulate and resilient who know their children and are advocating to the best of their ability, but they are without the basic skills and resources to support the child at home. This has become even more apparent during the pandemic and living through the restrictions and facing the subtle but significant changes to their children’s lives. This project aims to work with this specific group of families – working directly with children showing acute sensory needs. It will provide the youth workers with occupational therapist expertise of how to manage sensory input and differing behaviours of young people attending PAKT groups and also training and one to one sessions for these families that are tailored to what they are experiencing at home.