REGULAR contributor to The Irish Voice and author, John Joe McGinley, has launched a website—www.autismdad.ie —to help other parents with children on the autism spectrum.
Due to increased awareness, diagnoses of autism have been on the increase in both the UK and Ireland. Latest research highlighted that autism currently affects one to two per cent of the UK and Irish population, which is one per 100 children and two per 100 adults.
Unfortunately, many parents have seen support for their children reduced during the pandemic and also because of reduced government funding on additional needs services.
John Joe created www.autismdad.ie to share the experiences gathered over 14 years of raising children on the autism spectrum. He and his wife are the proud parents of four boys, two of whom are on the spectrum.
“They are both very different individuals which just highlights the famous quote about autism, that if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism,” John Joe said.
It is these very differences that inspired him to develop www.autismdad.ie to campaign for autism awareness and acceptance whilst also having a vision to help other parents.
Being the parent of a child with autism or any additional need can be an exhausting and lonely experience and John Joe wanted to show other parents they were not alone and create something where people can share best practice and learn new techniques to help their children.
“The concept of the website is simple, it is just a father sharing 14 years of ups and downs, joys and frustrations of helping his boys grow and develop,” John Joe explained. “The website has useful links to both UK and Irish autism support groups, a range of videos on a number of issues that impact on children with autism and also a blog which shares the real-life experience of parenting children with enhanced needs.”
The website is supported by both a Twitter account: @Autismdad67 and a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/autismdadireland. John Joe is also launching a podcast entitled autismdad.ie in the new year.
“The website, www.autismdad.ie is for every parent with children on the Autism spectrum and even grandparents who want to know more about Autism,” John Joe said. “Hearing an initial autism diagnosis can be an emotional experience for anyone, but it is not the end of the world. Increased support is now becoming available from parents
themselves to fill the gap created by lack of government funded resources and www.autismdad.ie is an online environment where people can learn to celebrate the differences their children experience not the disability some people perceive they have. Its primary vision is to increase autism awareness and acceptance and is well worth a look.”