When children with special needs get to school leaving age it can be a very confusing and anxious time for their parents.
What happens next? Where can I get information? Are there supports available? These are just some of the questions that parents of people with special needs are faced with.
There is very little information available on post school options and many parents are not aware that they and their children have choices.
In a bid to help parents make informed decisions at what can be a difficult and emotional time, Autism Support Louth & Meath are hosting a free Open Information Evening event with many of the local service providers in attendance.
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They are inviting all parents of people with special needs, from any school, to visit their Post 18 Options Expo on Tuesday 22nd October between 7.30pm and 9.30pm in the hall at Drogheda ABACAS Special School in Congress Avenue.
This event will give parents and children a chance to have a chat with representatives from many of the school leaver / post 18 services in this area.
"We are delighted that so many organisations have already confirmed they will attend the Expo" said Frances Butterly, Information Officer at Autism Support Louth & Meath.
Organisations Such as DKIT, Gheel Autism Services, Inspire, IWA, Malta Services, Moorehall, National Learning Network, NCSE, Nua Healthcare, Praxis Care, Rehab, St John of God, The Talbot Group and Walk Peer have all confirmed they will attend with others expected to join them.
"Our aim is to provide an opportunity for families to come and see all the local options in Louth, Meath and surrounding areas and start the conversation as to what might be the best fit for their child" said Jacinta Walsh from Autism Support Louth & Meath.
“This is the first time anything like this has been held in this area and we have had a very positive response to date from organisations and families wishing to find out more about further education and career opportunities for people with special needs.
“Start planning for the transition from school to the next stage - we welcome all parents whose children are leaving school within the next few years.
“We would also like to issue an open invite to our next support group meeting on Thursday 17th October at 10.30 in the Holy Family Community Centre in Drogheda. There is car parking outside and children are welcome.
“This is an opportunity to meet other parents and share information and support.
Brothers and sisters are not forgotten either. Our next sibling workshop is on Sat 12th October @ 4.00pm in ABACAS School. Booking on www.autismlouth.com.
Please contact either Frances Butterly on 085 124 0472 or Jacinta Walsh on 087 240 7431 with any queries.