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Supporting Families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)Like all children, children who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder need opportunities to grow and develop to their maximum ability. Supporting Families, Carers, and People on the Autism and Asperger Syndrome enhances
the family’s ability to secure a future for themselves and their relative with ASD. This means ending isolation and loneliness, create opportunities for financial security, enabling everyone to make a contribution, ensuring choice and creating genuine futures.

Family Initiatives is a parent lead project which is part of ASD Initiatives Ireland we aim to offer a combination of advocacy, information, education, training and supports for families of children on the Autism and Asperger Syndrome

The Vision:
Families of children with ASD will have access to information, education, training and supports that they need so they can make informed choices for their son or daughters needs and their future.

The Mission
Our purpose is to ensure that families of children with ASD have the knowledge and assistance they need to make informed choices that will enable them to support their child’s their health, their education and development. Our mission is to inspire parents to engage in a process of Personal Future Planning for themselves and their son or daughter by offering practical and technical advice.
We aim to provide opportunities for families to connect with other families, and to support families to advocate for services that are appropriate for their son or daughters needs, this will be achieved through the following:

Dedicated Phone Line
Drop-in /Consultation Service
Provide Education & Training Opportunities
Access to Person Centred Planning. Transition Planning and Lifelong
Planning through workshops and information
Family Advocacy
Provide access to Autism specific expertise to advise and information 
A resource library – leads books, audio and video tapes 
Facilitation of a Parent Forums for (0-12, 12-23 and adults groups)

Workshops & Information Sessions, we aim to offer a programme which helps to close the gap in information and supports available to families. This will be done through a training course that is designed for families and carers of people with autism and people with autism and aspersers syndrome. We aim to provide a welcoming and structured learning environment for adult learners, but
also to encourage and develop good working relationships between families,service workers, professionals and people with autism in order to support the implementation process of the person centred plans that will be generated by the person with autism and their family members.

A key role will be to capture the new learning so that we can maintain what is working well and work towards making changes where necessary. The programme will aim to provide families and the person with autism with the information which they can use in their own lives and the lives of the person
they care for. The programme will be delivered in a save and non-threatening environment to families and delivered by a parent of a child with autism. The programme aims to be emotive and informative.

The objective of the programme is to enhance and develop self confidence and skills for families so they can make a difference to their family member’s lives and their own, the aims and objectives are as follows:

To work in partnership with families who have family members with ASD with highly complex needs to identify and understand immediate and future needs so that a workable plan is developed.

To provide information and support to families about support plans, transition plans, person cantered plans and lifelong planning that will enable them to make informed decisions about how to support their family member in this process.

To assist families to obtain information services identified by the person they support 

To support families to develop networks and collaborative relationships with other families, community agencies, health services, education services and other relevant further education, training and employment Workshop topics include, Introduction to ASD and Asperger’s Syndrome, the Educational needs of the child with ASD, Understanding Challenging Behaviour, Supporting Social Skills, Understanding Language and Communication, Understanding Emotions and Relationships, how to
develop Individual Education Plans, Transition Planning, and Rights and Entitlements to services and benefits for a person with ASD, how to be an effective advocate for your son or daughter with ASD.

Family Forums – facilitate monthly informal get-to-gather for parents that offers peer support,  information and resources for parents and siblings of children with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

Community Education and Outreach – interact with the community to create an awareness of the need to create an autism friendly environment for the person with autism. The will be done by giving presentations to schools, colleges, public bodies, community groups and organisations, about the needs of people with autism and the experiences of families.

Family Advocacy – Our aim is to work on an individual basis with families to offer advice and support on up-to-date options on which way to turn, especially in times of crisis.

Family Support Networks; Our aim is to help families of people with autism to develop and set up Personal Networks and also to engage in planning for the future for their son or daughter with autism. The purpose is to inspire families to develop a Personal Future Plan with their loved one through person centred planning, to guide them through the process, to offer practical tips and technical
advice, to connect them with other families and to improve the present and make the future secure and safe for their sons and daughters with autism. Collaboration and Team work – My role is to coordinate the family support project, develop and deliver a suite of workshops that focuses on the needs of
families and to work in collaboration with the other members of the team in Autism Initiatives Group and ASD Initiatives Ireland. Engage with service providers and policymakers and parents and professionals who want to play a part in the delivery of this unique service. 

For further information Contact
Geraldine Graydon Family Initiatives
Training & Development Co-ordinator
Mobile No 086 7736363 or Email:

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