Have a read of some our members testimonials..
I'm Aoibheann, mum of two boys, Rory, who is 4 and Stephen, 2. The sweetest, most beautiful little boys you'll ever meet, and they both have Autism.
I consider myself lucky in that the month Rory was diagnosed my husband and I heard about a group of local mums who had started a Family support group for those affected by Autism and thus was my introduction to COS (Circle of support - for autism families). The amazing thing about COS is the warmth and comradery that radiates from each member. Each small step of progress for our children is celebrated, championed with genuine delight, the problems and setbacks are shared, and sometimes a willing ear is all that is needed.
As well as promoting autism awareness, the fundraising is to be applauded because not only does it allow little treats for our children tailored to their special needs, they also facilitate autism courses for the parents and family and in my opinion knowledge is the key. I attended such a course recently with OT/sensory expert Anne-Laure Jackson and after putting what I'd learned into practice, I now amazingly have a 4 year old that can pedal a bike and a previously clumsy and insecure 2 year old who can hold his own on any swing or trampoline.
My children will always have autism but they will always know they are loved because their father and I will do everything in our power to help them continue to grow and flourish. That journey may have it's challenges but I know for sure it'll never be lonely.
Congratulations on the first year COS. Here's to many many more to come.
For myself and my family, COS has provided us with the opportunity to enjoy time together as a family. We have gone to places we never would have dreamed of before joining this group and have beautiful photos as memories to look back on, something we thought we'd never experience. COS has provided a wealth of knowledge and experience from their own personal battles and helped me immensely in getting early intervention for my son.
COS has provided courses and training to help me be the best teaching tool to provide my son the best start in this world and have not forgotten about us parents as carers arranging time only for us too. COS has given me and my family a chance to have a family life as an entire family and meet some extraordinary kids and their equally extraordinary parents.
I will be forever grateful to this group who started out by just wanting to help people in the same situation as themselves; well done COS.
“COS has provided us with a great support network and the opportunity to introduce new experiences to Jack which enables him to develop tools which help him in everyday life.
The private events organised by COS have enabled us as a family to try new experiences without the added pressures of being judged.
We now feel, as a result of COS and their continuing support, that we as a family can encounter new experiences which other families take for granted”.
Brian & Gail Campbell
"My name is Una, mother of Owen (11) who has ASD and Maeve (4) currently going through the diagnostic process.
When COS was formed last June I was in limbo as neither of the kids had a diagnosis. I went with an open mind and haven't looked back.
In the past year they have organised many fun filled activities for the kids, Each one tailored to meet their needs. For example, private cinema screenings. Days at Cullens Amusements just for them and classes such as Drama Bugs. COS offers a wide range of activities to suit all age groups, which is perfect for us. We are really looking forward to see what this years summer scheme has in store. COS has provided great resources in conjunction with the website www.autismwhatnext.com ( launched at the same time as COS by Carrie from the group). They have given us access to several courses from ABA behavioural management to the amazing Anne Laure Jackson sensory Course. I am currently undergoing an 8 week programme entitled "it's all about me" for carers. April this year was a very proud time for me as a cos member as we lit up the council offices, spread the word in the town centre and practically took over Facebook in a bid to get everyone out walking the Peace Bridge all to raise awareness for autism. I for one got a real buzz from that day on the bridge especially.
Fundraising is a pleasure for COS as you know it's for the kids and we are never put under any pressure. you do what you can when you can, and we have great fun too. Our twice monthly meetings to me are the most important thing. Not only do we get the chance to speak to other parents, discuss our anxieties and know we are not on our own, but we also take time to share when our kids do something new or positive. We have also had many a laugh.
Without COS I would be in a very different place right now. It's been my pleasure thanks to 5 very inspirational women who work endlessly to make it all worthwhile. Thank you Carrie, Caroline, Juliana, Denise and Amy".