Today FMs Phil Cawley talks candidly to us in AADI about why our service is critical to bringing children with autism and their families back to our communities........... where they belong!

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"When I first heard of Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, I has no idea that these amazing creatures were used for anything other than helping people with sight difficulties.

Having first hand experience of my sons ASD, I understand completely the fears that children and young people with autism can go through. Anyone with experience of autism will tell you that the simplest noise or sudden change can dramatically affect the child.

These autism assistance dogs, when trained to to such a high standard, as is evident with AADI's recent accreditation with Assistance Dogs International, have such a life changing impact on the child with autism and their future. And the future of all of the family. It is truly incredible!

I talked with Aidan who received Gandi from AADI, and when I spoke with him, I felt that Aidan had been given a new life, independence, and this is all down to the charity's training of his Autism Assistance Dog.

I got behind Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland as I have seen first hand what they are doing to reach these children with autism and their families, how they are a lifeline to these families, how they want to reach more children struggling with the invisible symptoms of autism.

Exploring alternative methods is something that all carers of children with autism want to look at. Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland are a support that I truly believe is one of the roads that families should consider as a way to help the growth of their child with autism.

For far too long, autism has been in the shadows. Your family, your neighbour, your community have all been touched by someone affected by autism. It is time for us to move up, educate ourselves and become more ASD aware. It is time for us to support charities like Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland who are striving against funding shortages to make life better for children with autism and their families in our communities across Ireland." Phil Cawley