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Autism Friendly Award for NID Disability Team

2nd Apr 2019

The Boys' Brigade Northern Ireland District Disability Network is the first team from a uniformed youth organisation in Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious Autism Friendly Award. This award has been developed by the National Autistic Society, and was awarded to the BB's Disability Network Team in recognition of the work they have done to educate and support Boys' Brigade Leaders working with young people with autism.

The team who all give their time and expertise on a voluntary basis, has delivered training within BB, provided individual BB Companies with support, produced an information leaflet and designed an App, available on both Android and Apple which enables youth leaders to welcome and support young people with autism.
Colin Millar, Chair of The Boys' Brigade NI District Disability Network Team said:
"The BB in Northern Ireland is committed to promoting inclusive practice throughout the organisation. I am delighted to have worked alongside my fellow BB Leaders, Irene Lowry and Walter Lambe developing support for young people with autism to help them fully participate and enjoy BB. Irene, Walter and myself have considerable joint experience working with young people with additional needs and are passionate about seeing all members of BB realise their full potential".

This award is highly significant as it is the first to be awarded to a team from a uniformed youth organisation in Northern Ireland. The Disability Network Team deservedly received the award in recognition of the considerable efforts they have made to ensure that autistic people and their families feel welcome, supported and get to enjoy activities that other young people take for granted.
The District Disability Network Team has also produced a series of disability leaflets for youth leaders, covering a range of 25 different disabilities that can affect young people, to enable the youth leaders to fully include children of all abilities in their BB activities. Copies of the leaflets are available from The Boys' Brigade NI Headquarters in Culcavy, Hillsborough, and they may be downloaded from their website at www.bbni.org.uk/nidisability.htm. This is enhanced by the Disability App that is free on Apple and Android giving all youth leaders instant access to the disability help and information.
,Br> Shirelle Stewart the National Autistic Society NI's Director said: "We really are delighted to have presented our Autism Friendly Award to a team that's gone the extra mile to help autistic young people feel included. Often young people with autism don't feel they can attend youth organisations because the knowledge, understanding and support is not always available. This BB team has taken that extra step to ensure that autistic people feel included and understood"

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