April 16, 2014

Acorns For Autism taken from Facebook
Acorns For Autism taken from Facebook

Armagh, Northern Ireland – A specially designed outdoor space has been developed and created by a group of parents and is set to open in Armagh to provide families with children on the autistic spectrum a safe haven.

Chairperson of Acorns for Autism, Helena Kearns has a son, Finlay 12 who is ultra-sensitive to noise, light, movement and touch.

The Portadown Times report that the project is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, having been designed specifically for people with autism.

Last week, Lagan Building offered a substantial contribution towards the cost of the project.

Helena said,

“We just can’t believe it. We were prepared for at least three years of rattling buckets and fundraising so Lagan Building are like our guardian angel.”

The outdoor space will be a one-acre site beside the Acorns autism centre.

Helena added that when families come to access services in the centre then they will have somewhere relaxing to wait.

“This will be a place where families can go with their autistic children, an environment of understanding and acceptance where there will be nobody tutting or looking on with disapproval.”

The site has been designed by architect and Queen’s University lecturer Keith McAllister, who has a special interest in autism.

The play equipment has been approved by occupational therapists and there are small trampolines with no real bounce because a lot of children are sensitive to movement.

Helena says that the good thing about the project is that they can develop it as they need to.

The full article in the Portadown Times can be read here


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