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Tuesday October 27, 2009 09:55 by Biddy Hughes - ReConnect Autism Consultancy & Training biddy at reconnectautism dot org The Last House, Elsinore, Delgany, Co. Wicklow 087 923 8187
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award-winner Empowers Parents to Deliver Therapy to Autistic Children In The Home
Launching today, ReConnect Autism Consultancy and Training delivers autism consultancy and training services to parents of children on the autism spectrum that result in improved quality of life. Based in Wicklow and servicing families nationwide, ReConnect Autism recently won a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award for the social contribution of bringing the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) programme to Ireland. ReConnect Autism is headed up by Declan Sweeney B.Sc. ACE (Autism) who brings over 16 years experience in delivering autism services in the U.K. as well as working as a Team Leader on the U.K.’s Autism Services Accreditation Programme. Please visit www.ReConnectAutism.org for more information.
Declan Sweeney, Director of ReConnect Autism
Wicklow, Ireland, 27th October, 2009 - The prevalence of Autism diagnoses is rising dramatically throughout the world: in 1988, it was approximately 1 in 2,000 children, however, recent research shows it is now 1 in 91*. Despite such significant rises in prevalence, the services and treatments for people with Autism in Ireland remain under-resourced and waiting lists are long. ReConnect Autism Consultancy and Training has been developed to offer a solution to this massive national problem by training parents to deliver therapy to their autistic children in their own home.
ReConnect Autism, headed by seasoned autism professional Declan Sweeney, brings the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) programme to Ireland for the first time. Originally developed in the United States by Dr. Steven Gutstein, this approach has been employed worldwide for over 10 years to approximately 6,000 children.
RDI is a parent-education programme based on the latest research on the brain, developmental psychology and autism. The focus of the programme is to promote and enhance the child’s social and emotional understanding rather than to teach discrete behaviours and skills. Children on the autism spectrum – and with other neuro-developmental difficulties such as Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, Dyslexia, Epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome, Fragile X and Down Syndrome amongst others - miss out on or fail to master many of the early developmental stages that typically-developing children learn effortlessly. RDI teaches parents to provide treatment that offers their child a second opportunity to master these early developmental stages. Children on the RDI programme demonstrate dramatic changes in flexible thinking, communication, creative information processing, problem solving and self-development. All of these skills – typically deficits in children with autism - result in stronger emotional and social life skills and improved quality of life longer-term.
"The foundation of the RDI’s unique tailored approach to dealing with neuro-developmental difficulties is that nobody knows our child like we do, and therefore no one can guide him like we can,” according to Alicia and Paul Tylak, parents of a 7 year old boy. “ReConnect Autism has been an invaluable help in our journey towards making our son’s future a positive, communicative and emotionally-rewarding one. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to Declan Sweeney, Dr. Gutstein, and everyone who have brought us - and RDI - together.”
“Given that current research shows that as few as 3% of our autistic children will live independently when they reach adulthood and as few as 6% will gain employment, I am delighted to launch ReConnect Autism to help improve their life prospects.” said Declan Sweeney, Director, ReConnect Autism Consultancy and Training. “Already proven in other parts of the world and now available in Ireland, the RDI programme makes professionals out of Irish parents - who are currently disempowered and helpless – and gives them the expertise to take over the treatment of their children and offer them a stronger chance at long-term quality of life.”
Last week, Declan Sweeney was given a Level 1 award from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland for his contribution to Ireland’s autism community. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland aims to ignite social change by identifying, investing in and supporting Irish social entrepreneurs – individuals who are prepared to take risks by applying their energy, drive, ambition and innovation to tackle some of Ireland’s most entrenched social problems.
“Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is delighted to recognise Declan Sweeney for tackling the issue of autism in Ireland by making this innovative treatment available to Irish families,” said Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. “Declan’s passion and drive – coupled with a working career and intimate knowledge of autism – made him a clear choice for our awards. We look forward to seeing significant improvements in quality of life for some of the many families affected by autism in Ireland.”
ReConnect Autism is actively working with several Irish families all over the country. Please call 01 287 0414 for a personalised consultation or visit www.ReconnectAutism.org for more information.
About ReConnect Autism Consultancy and Training
ReConnect Autism Consultancy and Training delivers autism consultancy and training services to parents of children on the autism spectrum that result in improved quality of life. Based in Wicklow and servicing families nationwide, ReConnect Autism recently won a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award for the social contribution of bringing the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) programme to Ireland. ReConnect Autism is headed up by Declan Sweeney B.Sc. ACE (Autism) who brings over 16 years experience in delivering autism services in the U.K. as well as working as a Team Leader on the U.K.’s Autism Services Accreditation Programme. Please visit www.ReConnectAutism.org for more information.
About Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland aims to ignite social change by identifying, investing in and supporting Irish social entrepreneurs – individuals who are prepared to take risks by applying their energy, drive, ambition and innovation to tackle some of Ireland’s most entrenched social problems. Since 2004 the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards programme has selected and supported 142 leading social entrepreneurs, providing financial support, training and network opportunities. www.socialentrepreneurs.ie
Contact: Biddy Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 923 8187 or 01 287 0414.
* USA government research released by the Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html
Declan Sweeney, ReConnect Autism, receives Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award from Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland