After the initial shock and then acceptance of their beautiful and unique daughter’s diagnoses of autism and moderate learning disability, Rose’s Mum and Dad (Grainne and Anthony) did everything they could to best support her with the resources that were offered to them here in Northern Ireland.
They took her to weekly sessions with O.T. Physio, and speech and language therapies with mixed and varied results. However, when Rose started mainstream school with a full time assistant her additional support was reduced to one therapy session every three months. At home the family were experiencing more and more extreme and bizarre behaviours which took over ‘normal’ family life. In the Dec. of 2014 they decided to look further afield for therapy for children with autism. After extensive research online, Rose’s mum came across Adam’s Camp. She instantly got a gut feeling that this was the right place to bring Rose. “I just loved the idea that it included the entire family, because so much of who Rose was up to that point affected us all. We all needed help and support.”
They decided on the location of Nantucket Island for their camp and took Rose, her older sister Grace and younger brother Rowan on the long journey to the States in July of 2015. They were reassured from day one they had made the right decision. The camp ran for five days, Monday to Friday and included sibling’s camp, parent support workshops and all-important respite.
As each day passed, Rose changed before her parents’ eyes. She did things she’d never done before and they couldn’t believe the end result. Grainne says, “Rose astonished us every day. She progressed more in five days than she had in years.” At the end of the week we were invited to a one hour conference with the five therapists. They presented a detailed report on everything that happened in the therapy room and how to implement this at home, for continued success.
Anthony says, “We can honestly say we brought back a different little girl. She’s much more mature, has more confidence and is just a happier child.” Rose continues to do well. It’s not perfect. Not every day goes according to plan, but her parents have realised that by using the strategies effectively, family life runs a lot more smoothly.
On their return, the family felt compelled to share their story with the autism community. So it is with much encouragement and excitement and an offer from Bob Horney (co-founder and Adam’s dad), to outreach the camp in Northern Ireland, that Grainne and Anthony have taken on this ‘Awesome’ task of Adam’s Camp NI.
Learn more about the Northern Ireland programme