An MLA says she was blown away by the work down in Middletown after she paid a visit to the Centre of Autism in the village.
The DUP’s Carla Lockhart, who works closely with autism groups, says she was delighted to see the ongoing work first hand and that she “will be championing it at the very highest level of government”.
Middletown is a centre of excellence and caters for second level intervention for children, schools and parents.
It is especially unique in this respect and although resources are continually stretched they deliver for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a result of the Belfast agreement.
Middletown Centre was established in 2007 under the auspices of the Department of Education for Northern Ireland and its southern counterpart.
It delivers specialist education services to enhance the lives of children and young people with Autism.
Speaking after visiting the centre, Ms Lockhart said: “This was a very enlightening visit and having heard so much about what the centre offers it was great to see it at first hand.
“I was genuinely blown away with the excellent services this organisation provide to around 60 children per year through direct intervention, training for educational staff, parents and schools, research and advice.
“I sit on the APG for Autism and work very closely with local autism groups and was encouraged to hear of the excellent work being carried out by this regional centre.
“There is so much more awareness of how to create spaces and reasonable adjustments for children with autism but still much more that needs to be done.
“We need our councils to recognise how much more they need to do and I will be working with both the Centre and local groups to further highlight the needs of autistic children and to ensure they are not excluded from activities with other children.
“What we need is the right programmes for them so that no child is left behind. I was hugely impressed by this service and will be championing it at the very highest level of government.”