Give every child a chance
Lynn, Glenn, Daniel, Jodie and Jude in Leisureplex on Saturday

Give every child a chance

MEET Lynn Byrne who on World Autism Awareness Day celebrated her son Glenn and the many opportunities a Tallaght-based, parent-led group gives to all children with additional needs.

Living in Killinarden, Lynn’s 18-year-old son Glenn, who is the eldest of five siblings, has a diagnosis of autism and a learning disability.

“When you get a diagnosis [of autism] there’s no clear roadmap to navigate,” Lynn told The Echo.

“You’re just handed that diagnosis, families really have to search and look for [information, services and activities].

“When it came to finding activities at that time, we couldn’t find anything for Glenn.”

At the time, Lynn wasn’t the only local parent experiencing a similar challenge, a situation which resulted in the creation of Sensory Fun with Friends in 2016.

Established by parents in response to a lack of community-based activities, Sensory Fun with Friends provides activities that all children with additional needs and their siblings can do together.

The parent-led group organises weekly events, such as horse riding, swimming and yoga, alongside regular social days and trips.

Joseph, Christopher and Jamie celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

Alongside the family fun aspect, Lynn highlighted the life-long benefits engaging in activities can have for children and young people with additional needs.

“Regression is real,” Lynn said.

“There are kids not getting out, not making friends.

“[Before Sensory Fun] my Glenn regressed, he was spending a lot of time on his own.”

Looking back over her son’s journey with Sensory Fun, Lynn said: “Glenn has made lots of new friends and he’s more independent than we thought he would ever become.

“He’s in a youth club that he goes to every week independently, he meets his friends, can swim, horse ride, get on the bus.

“Glenn knows his community; he knows his neighbours.

“He goes on respite trips with his friends, he has a better life than me!

Lynn with her son Glenn

“He’s happy and that makes me happy.”

This June, Glenn will graduate from his school Abacus in Kilnamanagh, before starting in a day service.

“The goal of Sensory Fun was to help children become more independent, and to give them the same opportunity as everyone else,” Lynn said.

“And Glenn, he has flourished.

“I don’t think Glenn would have been offered a place [in a day service] if he hadn’t been given the opportunities he was… his level of need would have been too great.

“However, he put in the work, we just guided him.

“Glenn took the opportunities and worked really hard to meet his goals.

“If the right opportunities are given to children and the right supports applied, they can avail of the many opportunities out there for them.”

As World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated on Saturday, April 2, Lynn highlighted the other parent-led groups and supports also running across South Dublin County, and the opportunities they create for children with additional needs.

Last Saturday, Sensory Fun with Friends held a fun day of bowling in the Tallaght Leisureplex.

When asked what Sensory Fun with Friends would like to promote as World Autism Awareness Day was marked for 2022, Lynn said “acceptance, social inclusion, understanding and compassion”.

Sensory Fun with Friends thanked the Social Inclusion Unit of South Dublin County Council for its ongoing support.

Follow Sensory Fun with Friends on Facebook and Instagram or email


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