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(Ireland) County Laois is out to raise autism awareness

April 7, 2024, Ireland Live: Laois gets ready to support Rainbow Day for autism awareness

Laois Offaly Families For Autism appeals for communities to get involved in vital fundraiser

Communities and businesses across Laois are getting ready to support Rainbow Day on April 26 to fundraise and raise awareness of autism. 

This is the fourth annual Rainbow Day being run by Laois Offaly Families For Autism (LOFFA), a fundraising event which is vital for supporting families across the two counties. 

This week Leinster Express/Laois Live spoke to Chair of LOFFA Breda Murray about the huge amount of support being shown again this year. 

"This is our fourth annual Rainbow Day which is fantastic and it is getting bigger and bigger every year which we are delighted with," said Breda.  

"We ask all our members to contact a local business near them, be it a hotel, chemist, pub, or a shop and ask them if they would like to take part. If they say yes then we give them a letter, a poster and bucket. It's very simple, they put the bucket on top of their counter. . . .

"On the day we ask staff in businesses to wear a coloured top. A lot of businesses go all out, they put balloons in the shop and they wear coloured tops and some of them spray their hair and the public can donate what they want into the bucket.

"We also invite all the schools to take part in Laois Offaly and they are asked to wear a coloured top on the Friday and they put a euro into the bucket. . . .

LOFFA has 170 families registered with them this year which has increased substantially from 40 families four years ago. 

The charity subsidises private therapies, speech therapy, occupational therapy, counselling, behavioural therapy as well as important days out for families and educational workshops. On average they spend €30,000 [$33,000] per year. . . . 

"There are families receiving a diagnosis every week and there are only ten on the committee. We are all volunteers so there is only so much we can do." . . .

As well as raising vital funds Rainbow Day is all about educating people about autism and raising awareness. 

Breda said there is now a lot more awareness about autism in our communities but she said there is still a long way to go in terms of acceptance. 

"This autism journey can be very lonely. Your family and friends can be great to you but it's really other parents, they get it," she said. . . .


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