A Notice of Motion Proposed by Councillor MA McKillop, seconded by Councillor A Mulholland referred from 22 January 2019 Council meeting was passed earlier this week at the Leisure and Development Committee Meeting. The motion was in relation to Causeway Coast And Glens becoming an Autism Friendly Borough – and to ensure that people with autism are given the same opportunities as anyone else.
Autism affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they see, hear and feel the world around them. People with autism experience it in different ways, but typically face challenges in social communication and interaction.
Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop stated;
‘Council notes the increased number of citizens across Causeway Coast And Glens Borough Council with diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We want to ensure that those with ASD can have full access to services within our Borough. We want the Borough to be a place where those with Autism and their families …feel welcome and supported. Council agrees to develop and bring forward proposals which would see the Borough become Autism friendly. Council agrees to establish a working group in line with standing orders and tasks that group with the responsibility of developing proposals for consideration. Council should engage with support groups, training providers and statutory partners within the sector to help shape proposals for Council consideration. This would include structured Autism Awareness training for our staff in all Council facilities as well as reaching out to businesses, sporting and community groups across the borough.
Consideration should also be given to Council leading the way by offering quiet periods and spaces within our leisure centres and community facilities across the borough in the hope the private sector will follow.’
Cllr Angela Mulholland added;
I volunteer twice a month with a Disability Rock School within the Borough and many of our students would be on the spectrum. It is so important to know and recognise the signs and issues that young people with autism can and do experience. It is very important to deal with these issues in a relaxed and stress-free way, so as to provide the best experience for all concerned. This can only be achieved through proper awareness and understanding of this condition. Other initiatives such as Quiet Christmas’ which was organised for children with autism by this council in Dec 17, was well received, it offered children and their family members the opportunity to meet individually with Santa Claus in a calm and quiet environment. This is a practical example of what can be achieved by creating opportunities to ensure that events are tailored to suit all our children and their needs.
We need more of these initiatives, we need to raise more awareness and provide more information relating to autism, to ensure that our Borough is a place where those with Autism and their families feel welcome and supported and agree to develop and bring forward proposals which would see our Borough of Causeway Coast and Glens become Autism Friendly.
I was very happy and delighted to support this motion. ‘