This is a unique support group, founded in 2013 in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.
The support group was organised to further the avocation and encouragement of people diagnosed with Autism in the municipality of Famagusta. The group organises talks, lectures and other activities in order to promote discourse and awareness, which are the primary concerns of the group, as well as the continuous support of the families living with Autism.
The group organised a stall as their first event recently that talked to their community about what Autism is and what their plans are which was a great success. In collaboration with the municipality of Ayia Napa, they managed to reach out to more people and give them an insight to their plans and lives.
Their extraordinary work is promoted by municipalities and governmental services as well as internal and external associations related to raising awareness about Autism. All of their funding comes from subscriptions, joining fees, donations, grants, bequests, legacies, collections and any income they raise during events.
Their dream is to build a home within the community to provide care and a quality of life for people with Autism. The long-term goal is a specialised centre which will offer kids with Autism tailored education and pastime. This is going to start with them providing housing with 24-hour care for children, and adults with Autism.
Along with all the amazing mothers who are part of this group, my mum is also an active member. Another mum worth mentioning is Chriso Prodromou. I met her and her son, Stephanos, when Christos used to attend the special unit at the Ayia Napa primary school. Stephanos’ Autism is different to Chris’, every kind of Autism is unique. I remember spending days with both of them in the special unit, and break time sitting next to Stephanos while Chris was running around wreaking havoc. Even though his communication is limited he warmed up to me as time went by, he smiled, he responded to me. Patience and persistence is key, children with Autism are not unsociable, they are children in need of attention, love and understanding. There is no such thing as not being able to communicate with our kids, there is no such thing as ‘too difficult’.
These women are inspiring. They are fighting to make dreams a reality for all the children on the spectrum now and in the future. When Christos and Stephanos went to school, the unit was brand new, the children diagnosed now have a place to go, and their families will be part of a community that my mum, Chriso and all these other mums created. They wanted to provide their children with a safe home, to ensure their care during their life. They wanted parents to know that their children’s interests would always come first, because this community was created by people that are going through the same.
Children with Autism are born to ordinary people who become extraordinary parents; what more proof do you need other than this remarkable group?
Learn, read, speak, shout about Autism.