Introduction to the Autism Team


Head of Children's Autism Service

The Head of Children's Autism Service  is responsible for the operational, clinical and fiscal management of the Children’s Autism Service.
The Head of Children's Autism Service is the direct Line Manager for the Early Intervention Manager, School Age Manager, and Behaviour Support Staff, and works in collaboration with Heads of Departments and the Therapists, to ensure that families experience coordinated supports.

Manager of Early Intervention Autism Services
Bernie Roe
The Early Intervention Manager will meet the family of children in the 0-6 age group and with them identify goals that are a priority for the family. The family will be referred to relevant members of the Western Care multi-disciplinary team to support the child/family to attain their goal/full potential.
With the family, other team members and other agencies (pre-school staff, HSE) the Early Intervention Manager will assess the child’s skills. From this an individualized set of goals will be chosen by the family to support the child’s progress and learn new skills. Team members review, monitor and record the child’s progress and introduce new goals.                 

This role also involves working in collorabration with other agencies (Dept. of Education and Science, HSE, Preschools) to promote inclusion in local community.
Information sharing with families is an important part of this role to enable families to choose supports and services and know their entitlements/rights.
The Early Intervention Manager will support the family with the child’s transition to School should the family request this support.

Manager of School Age Autism Services – Andrew Clarke

The Manager of School Age Autism is responsible for coordinating the supports for families and children (age 6-18). Supports are based around priorities identified by families and children and therefore can be unique and varied in their arrangements. We aim to be creative in our approach and look to enable children and families to be involved in their natural community life. The role also involves coordinating a team of Autism Resource Workers based around the County as well as a part time respite house in Castlebar. In addition the Manager of School Age Autism coordinates a Social Skills group for children who need support in this area.


Autism Resource Workers

The Autism Resource Workers directly support the child and/or family in a variety of settings which could include the home, a preschool or the community. They work on goals identified as a priority by the family and/or the child as the child grows older. Skill development is promoted through practical teaching and support.
Autism Supports Advisor 
The role of Autism Supports Advisory involves supporting a number of families in the North of the county.  It is led by the individual family priorities.  Families are supported around problem solving and practical advice.  Direct supports can be provided to the child including such things as social skills development; developing independent involvement in their local community, future planning, emotional support, advocacy and support to develop their relationships with family and friends.  A social skills group is also being developed for a number of children who have requested this.  Support can also be provided to sibings and extended family.  Advice and direct support is given to schools and local communities where necessary to aid inclusion, adapting environments, circle of friends systems, understanding of the diagnosis, advice on services and resources.                                                          

Early Intervention Occupational Therapist - Vicky Sweeney                                                                                                           

The Early Intervention Occupational Therapist focuses on children's occupational performance related to tasks of daily living such as motor, sensory and learning skills, appropriate play and interaction. Specific goals are developed, therapeutic programmes are designed and activities are selected which meet the developmental interests and needs of the child.         
Psychologist Amanda Kelly

The Psychologist provides a range of supports to children with autism and their families including assessment, problem  solving, counselling, education and information provision, and support around school inclusion.

Social Worker – Rachel Durack
The Social Worker supports children and their families in their pursuit of personal outcomes through provision of information on entitlements and other services available in the Community. Advice, guidance and counselling is also provided when required. I also organize, facilitate and evaluate the running of groups to support children, siblings and  parents.    

Behaviour Support Specialists
- Jenny Tsagalas, Kelvin Frain

The Behaviour Support Specialists work collaboratively with the individual, family and others who support the person to develop a range of supports to address the meaning of behavioural difficulties. This collaborative process involves meeting with the individual and those who support him/her, assessing the nature of difficulties, and then developing a comprehensive range of support strategies.  
These strategies will typically include changes to the environment to meet the individual’s needs, teaching the individual replacement skills as alternatives to behavioural difficulties, implementing strategies to develop appropriate behaviours, and developing strategies to respond in a safe and respectful way to difficult situations when they occur. We also provide guidance in relation to developing more supportive environments for the individual to promote independence, skill development, and community involvement. 
Early Intervention Senior Speech and Language Therapist -  Anita Mc Loughlin
Speech and Language Therapy is involved in the assessment, diagnosis and remediation of communication difficulties and disorders.
The aim of the Speech and Language Therapist is to support and develop the child’s communication skills.  Research indicates that these skills are better developed in their natural setting with those that the child has regular contact with, namely; families, teachers, friends and the community and to this end therapy supports not only benefit the
child but the people who make up the child's world.
Admin Support - Claire Lally
The Clerical Support provides administrative support to the Autism Team, including Regional Service Manager, Early Childhood Manager, School Age Manager, Autism Resource Workers, Speech and Language Therapist, Behaviour Support Staff, Occupational Therapist and Social Worker. This support includes diary management, minute taking, general correspondence, upkeep of IP folders, filing etc.
The Clerical Support is also often the first point of contact for families, schools, other agencies and the community in general.