Recently, we at AsIAm obtained funding from the Late Late Toy Show Appeal to the amount of €100,000 to fund our Bridge Forward project: the newest of our autism training programmes.
The Bridge Forward programme was designed in response to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community participation for autistic children and their families. This project was developed with a series of 6 workshops that focus on the fundamentals of child development as outlined by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) which was approved by the World Health Assembly 2001. The ICF model provides a framework for conceptualising body functions and structures, activities (functioning at the level of the individual), the participation of the individual in all areas of life and the environmental factors that affect these experiences.
The aim of this project is to train qualified facilitators (e.g., Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Social Care Workers) in a programme to further upskill the community and social group leaders in working with autistic children and their families in returning to (or indeed beginning to engage in) community participation.
We have recruited and trained 6 Bridge Forward Facilitators to work directly with 18 communities around Ireland. Their role is to deliver 6 strengths based workshops to support the meaningful engagement and participation of autistic children and young people in local activities.