Derek O’Neill, who co-founded SQ Foundation with his wife Linda, is very passionate about his work with Irish Autism. He continually works to increase awareness of the issues surrounding autism, and to help support the organization with funds as needed for the children and families. In 2012 Irish Autism Action gave him a humanitarian award for his efforts in this area.
Statistics show that currently 1 in 110 people in the world have autism. Irish Autism Action works to provide vital support and bring positive change into the lives of those affected by the condition. IAA is a young dynamic, innovative and passionate organisation formed in 2001. Their range of services includes raising awareness, early detection diagnosis, educational support, advocacy, counselling, helpline, home based support, transition planning, social housing, and advice for families upon receiving diagnosis.
In order to get the intervention a child and their family needs, the following steps are necessary: the child’s autism must be diagnosed, an early intervention plan must be identified, services must be activated to help them with speech and language, support has to be provided to the families, and an appropriate educational plan for the child must be identified. Getting early diagnosis and intervention maximises the potential of the child, and reduces dependency on the parents and the overall cost of lifelong care.
The Derek O’Neill and the SQ Foundation continue to support the needs of Autistic children and their families through this organization and others like it.