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The OUR Generation team at Co-Operation Ireland kicked off the new year in style with a shared learning event called ‘Autism: Belonging & Inclusion in YouthWork’.
The event took place on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th of January at the Millennium Forum, Derry/L’derry.
The idea for the conference grew out of a number of smaller events first conceived by Dr Breda Friel, Course Director of Community Youth Work at Ulster University.
At the conference, Dr Friel gave a presentation on ‘Reframing Perspectives’ and led participants in a separate workshop on ‘Autism, Gender Identity and Well-being.’
Over 200 people attended the two-day conference and heard from keynote speakers including Chris Bonnello, Jude Morrow, Evaleen Whelton, and Anne Walsh
The fully funded in-person event offered delegates the opportunity to discover what the challenges are for youth work and youth workers and understand how best to offer support to children and young people.
There were contributions from Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-Operation Ireland, and Mary Cunningham CEO of National Youth Council of Ireland .
Peter Sheridan spoke about the importance of the OUR Generation project to peacebuilding and mental health in children and young people.
Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, of Ulster University, also attended and gave a short presentation on the results of the Youth Wellbeing Prevalence Survey published in October 2020.
As well as hearing from expert speakers, attendees also had the opportunity to take part in a range of workshops, including Calm with Carole’s Lego Therapy, Mindfulness with Monique Harte, Art therapy with Claire Thompson of Creative Therapies, ‘Autism & Anxiety’ with Eden Consultancy, and lots more.
This Autism conference is part of a series of shared learning forums the OUR Generation team at Co-Operation Ireland has been involved in. For this conference they teamed up with a number of key organisations that support the sector, including Ulster University, The Youth Work Alliance, The Playtrail, Northwest Youth Services, Education Authority, and Donegal Youth Service.