Knowsley Council is marking World Autism Awareness Week (27 March – 2 April) by celebrating the achievement of the borough’s Adult Disability Service which has been given an official seal of approval by the National Autistic Society.
The service, which runs activities at six day centres in Kirkby, Halewood and Huyton for adults with disabilities and autism has had its Autism Accreditation – initially achieved in 2015 – awarded for a further three years (2017 – 2020).
Autism Accreditation is an internationally-recognised award for organisations demonstrating a commitment to understanding autism and setting the standard for autism-friendly services.
Around 250 adults with disabilities regularly attend Knowsley’s day centre activities, including 32-year-old Kerry Ruddock who has autism. Kerry does not speak and, according to her sister Sharon Ruddock was ‘locked in her own world’ before attending the day centre sessions.
Sharon said: “Kerry’s life used to revolve around lying on the couch and watching MTV. Days out consisted of driving Kerry around in the car for hours, and trying to encourage her to have a walk. We always went somewhere desolate and quiet, as she didn’t like noise, other people around and other distractions.”
A little over two years ago, Kerry starting attending the adult day centre sessions in Huyton. Sharon added: “I was hoping that it would bring something, anything, into my sister’s life.
“Kerry now attends the day services four days per week. She is a different person. It’s hard to put into words exactly what has happened with Kerry and how much her life has changed for the better. I would describe it as ‘an awaking’.
Kerry now wakes up with a smile on her face, I tell her she’s going to the day centre and she springs out the bed. Kerry has come on, grown, matured and changed so much it’s unbelievable. She has a social life, friends, hobbies she enjoys, and she wakes up with a purpose in life.
This is all down to the adult day centre, the great team they have there and their consistent approach and methods.”
For further information about Knowsley’s Adult Disability Service contact Knowsley Access Team on 0151 443 2600.