Established in 2009, Sólás is a special needs charity which supports children and young people with a broad range of additional needs including autism and ASD. We are based in South Belfast, however our work extends across Northern Ireland.
We have a number of social development, educational support and parent support programmes. As part of our social development programme we facilitate a range of after-schools, weekend and summer scheme initiatives for children and young people with ASD.
We also facilitate a number of weekly home support and respite initiatives, as well as parent support groups.
As part of our educational remit, we run an early intervention initiative called Back on Track and Kidz Den which provides support to children who have an additional learning need but do not meet the criteria for statutory support.
We also run an IT programme in primary schools called SchoolPodcast and we are currently developing a training and personal development course for the 18+ bracket.
ADDITIONAL NEEDS & AUTISM
Our ‘Educational Support Programmes’ are targeted at those children in mainstream primary education, often on the early stages of the School’s Special Education Needs register and not achieving their full learning potential.
Our Back on Track and Kidz Den programmes provide support to children who have an additional learning need but do not qualify for statutory support. For example, some children may not be achieving a literacy level comparable to their reading age whilst others may struggle with language formation, phonics, time, sentence construction etc.
Our 'Social Development Programmes' are mainly targeted at those children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities.
Our ASD programmes include two 'Happy Hands' after-school clubs,'Time for Me' Saturday morning club and a 'Big Smile' Summer Scheme for children aged 4 to 11, as well as our 'Champ Youth' programme for teens aged 11-17.
We also have a number of parent support initiatives including mindfulness, art psychotherapy and monthly parent support meetings.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates, interacts socially, and can present difficulties or differences for the person in their thinking, imagination and sensitivity of their senses.
As a spectrum condition, individuals with autism will share similar difficulties; however the way in which autism will impact on the individual is unique, with no two people with the condition being exactly the same.
One of the most well-known forms of autism is Asperger syndrome. Unlike people with other types of autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speech, however processing and understanding language can be a difficulty.The condition is more common in males than females.