2nd April is World Autism Day

Inspire launches a Bake it up blue Facebook campaign to raise awareness

 

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects tens of millions of individuals globally. It is also referred to as the ‘Invisible Disability’ because there are usually no outwardly visible traits that make the condition easily recognizable.

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) which this year falls on the 2nd April, is a concept originally created by the United Nations in 2007, with the intention of raising awareness about Autism.

Every year, people with Autism, their families, and organisations who work with them team up with international entities to raise awareness about Autism which is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how an individual communicates with, and relates to other people. It also affects how individuals make sense of the world around them.

Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, the condition will affect them in different ways. Statistics show that around 1% of the child population are on the Autism Spectrum, and 4 out of 5 children diagnosed, are boys. Whilst there is no existing cure for autism, research has shown that early diagnosis is important as this allows intervention to commence at a young age, giving children the best chance to reach their full potential.

Inspire, the Foundation for Inclusion, has developed a range of specialised programmes that respond to the needs of individuals on the autism spectrum. These include the Early Years and Middle Years Structured Training and Education Programmes (STEP),  Specialised Training for Lifestyle Enhancement (STYLE) and Outreach which provide specialised intervention at our centres, within the home and community. These specialised programmes are are the only local programmes that are accredited with the National Autistic Society’s Austim Accrediation Programme (UK). More recently Inspire’s Multisensory and Therapeutic Horse Riding programmes have also been accredited.

As an important component of delivering a fully comprehensive service in providing support to children/adolescents, on a weekly basis, children in Inspire’s Early Years programme make use of the therapeutic services at the Inspire Marsascala branch. Using facilities such as the indoor hydrotherapeutic pool, the state of the art multi-sensory theatre and therapeutic horseback riding provide the children with an opportunity to develop numerous skills in a variety of environments – and have fun at the same time.

Due to the diverse and the varying degrees of how autism impacts the individual’s life, Inspire’s Outreach programme provides tailor made services that are designed to meet the individual’s needs and addresses these challenges. This is achieved by working closely with both student and parents to develop and implement an individualised support plan. The parents will be assisted to effectively address home-life issues through realistic objectives and practical family-friendly strategies to reach the goals that are often a challenge for their families. Through hands-on demonstration, stakeholders are empowered with the necessary skills to implement these strategies with the support and coaching of the Inspire professionals.

As part of the international efforts to raise awareness The Inspire Foundation will be organizing a Bake It Blue event on Facebook. Blue is the international colour chosen to represent Autism awareness, so for the month of April, the public is being invited to bake blue food, take photos of their creations and to post them on Inspire’s Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/inspire.malta. 

“The intention is to have people ask questions about our blue cookies, or blue cupcakes,” says Inspire Team Leader Yentl Spiteri, “so that we then get the opportunity to explain some things about Autism and raise as much awareness as possible.”

More information on our Autism Programmes can be obtained by contacting Inspire’s Parent Relations Manager – Charlene Borg on 20928100/12 or via email on Charlene.Borg@inspire.org.mt