Thursday, February 13, 2020

Joanne Hoban, Autism Supports Advisor with Western Care.

Lego-based therapy, an initiative which is supported by Western Care’s Autism Supports Advisors, is yielding amazing results in primary and secondary schools for students with autism and their peers.

The programme, known within schools as ‘The Bricks Club’, is just one project that has been supported financially by the proceeds of the Valentine’s Candlelight Ball.

Autism Supports Advisors have established the therapy in 90 schools across the county. Teachers are provided with in-school training, the autism supports advisors facilitate the therapy on a weekly basis at the start and the school then continue with the bricks club throughout the year.

Schools that are engaged in the programme have praised it due to the wide range of benefits it has brought to students. These include improved collaborative work; better social skills in the yard and during other activities; greater inclusion, socialisation, listening, problem solving and group work; and improved relationships with peers.

Joanne Hoban is an Autism Supports Advisor with Western Care and she witnesses first-hand the hugely rewarding benefits of the programme.

“Students who have the opportunity to get involved in Lego-based therapy reap the benefits time and again. Their confidence levels increase and they demonstrate lower levels of anxiety in social situations. The therapy encourages all students to communicate and socially interact with their peers in an inclusive, structured and fun environment. They learn to problem-solve, take turns, listen, and communicate more effectively. One of the big benefits is watching students learning to interact with each other and forming friendships during the bricks club.

“We were delighted and honoured when the Valentine’s Candlelight Ball committee chose our project as one of their beneficiaries. Their support allowed us to grow the programme and has ensured that many students with autism and their peers in Co Mayo have the opportunity to engage in it and reap the rewards.”

If you would like to help fund similar excellent projects in Co Mayo you can do so by supporting the Valentine’s Candlelight Ball which takes place in Breaffy House and Spa Resort on Saturday, February 15 starting with a champagne reception at 7pm followed by a gala dinner with raffle, auction, table prizes and not forgetting this year’s highly anticipated guest speaker – Mayo GAA All-Star Paddy Durcan. All proceeds raised from the ball go directly towards programmes being run by Western Care Association.

Tickets costing €50 per person are on sale now from committee members or Western Care.

If you cannot attend the ball but would like to support the event you can provide an auction item, raffle prize or spot prize or give a financial donation. All support is greatly appreciated.

For more information contact Teresa Ward, Fundraising and Development Manager Western Care Association 087-2467857.



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