Residents of a care home delivered a wonderful dash of colour in Listowel on Friday as the town’s famous bridge was lit-up in blue – marking Autism Awareness Month.
he striking explosion of colour at dusk was the work of Resilience Care and local County Councillor Mike Kennelly (FG) as part of their ongoing efforts to make Listowel and North Kerry an even more autism-friendly environment.
Resilience Care operates a full-time residential home in Dromin in Listowel under contract to the HSE; in a sister site to its slightly larger residential service at Ballyseedy in Tralee.
For residents of both centres, the benefits of greater awareness among the general public of the challenges facing people on the autism spectrum are significant, as Resilience Care Kerry Adult Services Manager Mary Costello explained: “The benefits of greater public awareness of the issues surrounding autism are significant for our service users. That’s very much the case when it comes to community involvement, particularly.
“Many people with autism are fortunate they can continue to live at home and have a very productive life, but there are some people who would have high specific needs, people who maybe have greater communication difficulties, who could be non-verbal or find it difficult to communicate with words.
“So when it comes to community involvement, like participating in sporting organisations and such, the greater the level of public awareness is the easier it is for service users to integrate.”
Covid has had a major impact of course, but family visits have resumed outdoors, as the service users received their first vaccination dose recently.
“The impact of Covid has been very hard, particularly with difficulties understanding what was happening, but we have been productive in terms of social stories, that by explaining the story to them they seem to take it on board more..but the benefits of resuming family visits, outdoors, has had a hugely positive affect on all,” Mary added.