We did have a very busy summer – running numerous training events for volunteers, applying for a large number of grants and commencing work on a 3 year strategy for AsIAm, which we hope to unveil before the end of the year.
It has been a busy and exciting time for me personally too. Last week I finished up in my consultancy role with Aspire, to focus fully on AsIAm.ie. I guess this shows how much we are growing and also highlights the importance of us building a plan and securing essential funding and fundraising efforts.
A key focus of the organisation in the year ahead will be to streamline e work that we are doing so that it can reach more people and make a greater impact. A key part of this is to get as many school speakers trained, around the country, as possible.
We have held numerous training days during the summer months to help facilitate this and will hold a number more in October (though please note applications for these training opportunities are now closed).
While some of our speakers are still training, others are now visiting schools and will soon undertake such visits independently. It is this which brings me to Carrigaline this morning, where Brian Irwin (our Cork school speaker) and myself are working with the 240 1st year students in Carrigaline Community School. I passionately think the earlier we meet students in secondary school, the better, and so it is great to be able to educate the 1st years, in Carrigaline, on Autism and I look forward to seeing Brian leading a number of the workshops!
Next week, I will be in Laois and Meath with other school speakers and the following week, I am excited to deliver our first ever workshop in Northern Ireland, when I visit Carrickfergus during the National Autistic Society Conference in Belfast.
In between, we are working with our friends in the Middletown Centre for Autism once again, delivering a workshop on “Autism and Society” in Magherafelt on Saturday 26th September.
So, as you can see a busy few weeks of travelling ahead and I will try and blog a little throughout to keep everyone up to speed on how things are going.
The streamlining of our work is not limited to Secondary Schools however and in the coming weeks I hope to be able to make a series of announcements around our online information service, our AsYouCan programme and our work in serving as a “meeting point” for the Autism community to support, learn and grow from one another
A critical priority we will continue to focus on is he attitude, awareness and understanding of Autism among young people. I know from talking to so many of our users, the positive difference a group of students can make by being Autism aware. I also see how receptive young people are to our message, when we visit schools. However we also know how damaging it is when people are not aware and when people do not understand, we hope that by educating young people that we not only help young people with Autism now, but we change the game for people with Autism into the future – as society will grow to be Autism aware.
This will mean lots of developments around our outreach in schools, it will also mean exploring how we bring the message beyond school walls to young people, and how we bring the message at a younger age and also into Universities!
So, that’s what we are up to and we will keep you posted in the days and weeks ahead! As always if anyone wants to learn more or is interested in becoming involved in our work please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org