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Sharon McCarthy

The mind behind Autism Journeys

Sharon McCarthy is a parent in an autism and additional needs household in rural Cork. She has advocated for her family for many years to ensure educational, physical and health needs are met, and that her children are afforded equitable opportunity to realise their potential.

She the mind behind, and presenter of, Autism Journeys Radio Show on UCC98.3fm, a show centred on gaining the perspectives and telling the stories of figures in the autism community. Guests to date include local parents and bloggers like Lenore Good (Out in the Sticks with Six) and authors Jennifer Cook-O Toole (Asperkids) and Steve Silberman (Neurotribes).

Services

Universally designed and keeping the autonomy of the autistic individual to the fore.

Visuals
Programme

Environmental Assessment and Modification

Bespoke Training

Parental Consultancy

Autism Journeys

Radio Show on UCC 98.3fm

Sharon is proud to host Autism Journeys Radio Show on UCC98.3fm. The show uses interviews with experts in Autism from a variety of different backgrounds- from bloggers and authors, to passionate and driven parents living in autism households, to autism professionals- together with Sharon’s own wealth of knowledge to offer information and answer your questions about autism. The show offers practical advice for autistic individuals, parents and other primary caregivers who may need assistance with an aspect of daily living, as well as the opinions and experiences of individuals who deal with autism on a personal and professional level. Informative and interactive, Autism Journeys is one of the first and only shows of its kind in Ireland.

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Endorsements

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Endorsement for visual programme

“Visual strategies are often a key means of supporting people with autism. They have a variety of functions including helping people to be more independent and organised; providing information about what is happening and what to expect; reducing anxiety; supporting communication and ensuring consistency across settings. Sharon has used her training, passion and wealth of experience in ASD to create attractive, durable and user-friendly visual materials that will help to support and enhance the independence skills, social skills and communication skills of people with ASD. Her materials and packs are practical and adaptable and will make a great addition to your communication toolkit”

Dr. Micaela Connelly, Senior Educational and Child Psychologist
, Autism Service (South Lee, Cork)

Endorsement for environment

“Sharon McCarthy most kindly came to Ardmore Community preschool and undertook two observations within our preschool. I really appreciate the time Sharon took in observing the boys in question and the strategies she provided to us the staff in relation to coping with behaviours related to the Autism Spectrum Disorder. While one child had a diagnosis, the other did not at the time, however, has since been assessed by the Early Intervention team. Both children have greatly benefitted from the implementation of the visual aids that Sharon suggested. For example, one is a visual day plan, which chronologically indicates the activities of the day. We have utilised Sharon’s ideas and her supporting documents that she gave us in the form of a mood board and are beginning to use a lot more social stories in the classroom.  Since Sharon’s visit and upon her recommendations, we have created a ‘sensory store’ consisting of chewy toys, stress balls, and a variety of sensory mats etc. Sharon’s observations have proved a great resource in our care plan. In conjunction with this, on the days of observations, her overall demeanour was positive, friendly and knowledgeable. Sharon engaged well with both children and staff within our preschool. Sharon thank you so much for the support you have given us it has been so valuable, and very much appreciated.”

Bridget Bateman, Childcare Manager
, Ardmore Community Playschool, Passage, Cork

For environmental design

“When I moved into my new Dramarama premises, two years ago, and decided to have a Sensory Room for Sensory Stage Stars, Sharon McCarthy advised me on how to accessorise and decorate it. This included lighting and black out spaces, wiggle seats and yoga balls. She also took me shopping for tactile and sensory toys and items for fidget bags. If you need someone to assist you designing a Sensory Room, go to Sharon McCarthy!”

AnnMarie Lewis, Proprietor, Dramarama Academy of Performing Arts
, Mount Oval, Cork

Endorsement for lecturing

“Sharon has made a significant contribution to the understanding of those with ASD. Her considerable knowledge base is assuring to those seeking answers in an ASD context.”

Helen Carey, Course Coordinator
, Living with Autism, Cork College of Commerce

Endorsement for bespoke training

“Sharon has an excellent knowledge and understanding of Autism and the sensory processing and anxiety issues that can accompany it. Her workshop provided valuable opportunities for staff to understand and experience these feelings for themselves through well planned activities. Sharon has tailored the course to our needs as a school and I am sure it will have a positive impact on Autism Awareness within our school”

Kerri Hollywell, Principal
, St. Mary’s School, Rochestown, Cork

Endorsement for parent consultancy

“The help and support received from Sharon is something that we as a family are forever grateful for. In May 2018 our son was struggling in school and emotionally. He was awaiting a NEPS assessment and we were receiving daily calls from school about his behaviour. His day was reduced, with him spending only an hour and a half in school each day. This was our first time having to deal with teachers, support staff and specialists like psychologists. It was a challenge for us too, unsure of how to move forward to make sure everything would be ok for our boy. Sharon’s support and voice proved invaluable throughout and she attended meetings with the school, support workers and psychologists. She advised me as a parent what the best route to take was, to get the best help for my son. She helped ensure strategies were put in place and adhered to by the school to get Alex back to full time education. Without her, I fear that we would not be where we are now. Alex is in school full time, with the support of an SNA and is enjoying it. He gets regular movement breaks when needed, has access to supports like visual schedules and is developing his social skills with assistance. He is a happy boy, content going to school every day. I have no doubt that without Sharon’s help we would be looking at a very different scenario.”

Susan O’ Connell, Parent
, Cloyne, Co. Cork

Endorsement for lecturing

“I came across AJRS a couple of weeks ago & am enjoying it so much. Your questions & style of presenting are so thoughtful and so accessible. I’m a speech & language therapist & on a diagnostic team. I can’t wait to point newly-‘identified’ young people & parents in your direction. Keep up the amazing work.”

Caitríona Ní Charragáin, SLT & co-chairperson National SLT ASD special interest group.

“Sharon is so much more than an expert. She’s one of our tribe. She walks the walk as a mom, a professional and dear friend”

Jennifer Cook O Toole, author of 'Asperkids' book series and 'Autism in Heels, a memoir'.