Social Circle is supporting local children on the autism spectrum

Social Circle is supporting local children on the autism spectrum

By Mary Dennehy

A PARENT-run organisation dedicated to the provision of social, sporting and cultural activities for local children on the autism spectrum is inviting members of the community to support its annual fundraising ball this April 1.

Established in June 2014, Social Circle is a fun club for children on the austism spectrum, their siblings and parents – with the organisation not only providing activities but promoting inclusion, offering support and generating awareness.

Social Circle Park CS01 23022017

Run voluntarily by parents Mairead Mekki, Tallaght, and Laura Hegarty, Walkinstown, the group has more than 120 member families, who engage in a number of weekly activities, such as art, lego clubs, music therapy, science, football and swimming – with families also enjoying monthly trips and camps.

Mairead Mekki, who has two children on the autism spectrum, told The Echo: “These kids have been failed by the HSE and every other service and Government department that should be supporting them.

“These kids don’t have access to any services or activities in their communities and it’s very difficult for them to integrate into mainstream activities and clubs.

“Because of this we established Social Circle, so that our kids don’t have to fit in… they can be themselves.”

The broad range of activities offered by Social Circle and the inclusive and safe setting in which they are provided, give children on the autism spectrum the opportunity to develop their social skills while having fun.

Laura Hegarty, who has an eight-year-old daughter on the autism spectrum, said: “The activities are amazing and support children with autism to learn important social skills.

“It also helps with their concentration levels and any fears that they may have… my daughter was terrified of water but she has overcome this through the water play parties we hold in Tallaght Leisure Centre.

“The activities are also very helpful for the whole family and parents and siblings come along to events… learning skills together that they can bring home.

“It’s also an important support mechanism for the siblings of children with autism, they learn that they are not the only ones with a brother or sister who doesn’t always want to play.”

To raise awareness of Social Circle and the importance of tailored activities for children with autism and their families, a gala event called the Heart of Autism Ball will be held in the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght, on April 1.

Profits from the night will go to the running of the club and to My Canine Companion, which provides autism service dogs to many of Social Circle’s young members.

Music on the night will be provided by Emma Lou and The Agenda, while special guests will include Adam Harris, of AsIAm, comedian Patrick McDonnell and Louise Gallagher, who is a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry.

Tickets to the gala ball, which kicks off at 6.30pm with a prosecco reception, cost €65 each and include a four course meal, casino fun, goodie bags and spot prizes.

Local businesses are also encouraged to support the event by buying a table or donating spot prizes or items for the goodie bags.

For further information or to book tickets call 087 3437471 or email

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