Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

This is an issue I raised some months ago at a NILGA meeting and asked that all Councils be circulated to support the very special case of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

If I could define more accurately – Autism, - is the name given to a set of neurodevelopmental disorders in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. .
Today autism is recognised as one of a number of related ‘pervasive developmental disorders’ which also includes, ‘Asperger disorder’.

This is a condition most often noticeable in children around 3 years of age.

On 31st December 2005 – some 686 children in Northern Ireland were waiting to be assessed – a disgraceful situation.

Lord Magannis spoke on this subject in the House of Lords and described the provision of early assessment and intervention in Northern Ireland as unacceptable. While there has been an increase of core funding to Autism NI, which is appreciated, but this amounted to no more than 4p per day for each Autistic child in Northern Ireland again a disgraceful situation.

At the moment there is no cure for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and at best all that can be done is to make the world a more ASB friendly place and increase understanding of the condition.

Northern Ireland has no formal strategy to deal with this condition, but other areas in the UK and Europe do have strategies and legislation. In some areas in N I, the waiting time for diagnosis has topped 35 months.

This is unacceptable for our children. And I would ask where ever possible that this council supports the Autism NI campaign, that there must be a N I Autism Strategy with a separate programme of care for Autism and that there must be a N I Autism Act which is set out in the document Blue Print for Change.

I am seeking Council support for the proposal –
That this council supports the Autism NI campaign for
1. A, N I Autism Strategy
2. A separate programme of care for Autism
3. A N I Autism Act

I am delighted to say that Council fully supported my proposals.

Civic Reception for Life Boat Members

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Bangor Station has informed North Down Borough Council of the arrival of a new lifeboat.

The new boat will be called the Jessie Hillyard and is of the new Atlantic 85 class which represents an investment of £125k following on from the new boathouse opened in 2002.

At the Corporate Committee meeting of North Down Borough Council,I stated, it is with a great deal of pride and honour I proposed a civic reception for the crew of the life boat and those involved at the station. The reception should tie in with the naming ceremony which will take place early 2007 which I feel would recognise the commitment, dedication and professionalism of the team at the Bangor Station. It must never be forgotten that the crew are volunteers, and that the Bangor Station a very busy station, during the current year has answered 45 calls to those in danger at sea in the Belfast Lough.

As North Down is regarded as the leading Maritime Borough in Northern Ireland it is only but fitting we show our appreciation by holding such a reception. "

The proposal was quickly seconded and approved by Council.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Friends of Bangor Community Hospital

The AGM of The Friends of Bangor Community Hospital was held in the Seminar Room of the Community Hospital and the following office bearers were elected: Chairman, Cllr Mrs Marion Smith, Vice Chairman, Mrs Barbara Grant, Hon. Secretary Mrs Jakki Owens, and Hon. Treasurer Mr Roy Rosbotham. The Committee were pleased to welcome, Mrs Margaret Horner, Miss Elizabeth Pollock and Mr Colin McLean to their ranks.

Some years ago I formed the Friends of Bangor Community Hospital and helped steer the present building into commission. Since the existence of the group many items of equipment has been purchased through the fund-raising efforts of our small group. These items over the years have helped to provide greater comfort to those staying or visiting the hospital. I have been amazed by the generosity of the people from the borough and beyond who have not only supported our fund-raising events, but have increasingly donated money or made bequeathments to the 'Friends'.

These welcome monies are mainly from family or friends who have experienced in some way the professional; but friendly and loving atmosphere we have through the staff of the Bangor Community Hospital. I thank everyone who has so kindly recognised, in this positive way the work of the hospital. I have no doubt that many have benefitted from the unique services offered.

I would wish to pay tribute and thank the outgoing Chairman Raymond Gordon and the dedicated committee, who worked tirelessly over the years and who have given so freely of their time and energy. I look forward to taking up the reigns once again, and to continue to provide a service which comes from my self and the committee with a true sense of care and dedication.