Adam’s Camp treatment helps local schoolgirl meet her potential

Rose, pictured in her dad Anthony's arms, with brother Rowan, sister Grace and mum Grainne. INNT 48-808CON
Rose, pictured in her dad Anthony's arms, with brother Rowan, sister Grace and mum Grainne. INNT 48-808CON

An intensive therapy developed in the USA to help young people with autism spectrum disorder could be on its way to Northern Ireland next year.

The Adam’s Camp helped Newtownabbey schoolgirl Rose Ashe-McGurk to better cope with her autism. And now her family are trying to ensure that other local children can benefit from the programme by bringing it to Co Antrim next summer.

Rose, a P3 pupil at Ashgrove Primary School, travelled to the United States in July with her parents, Grainne Ashe and Anthony McGurk, her sister Grace and brother Rowan, to receive specialist treatment at the Nantucket Adam’s Camp.

The family feel the therapy seven-year-old Rose received was so beneficial, they are now planning to hold an Adam’s Camp in Northern Ireland.

“Rose was diagnosed with autism when she was five. It has been a challenging time for the whole family, not least Rose. We had been receiving therapy at centres across Belfast, but everyday tasks were still proving a challenge and at times we did struggle. After doing a bit of research online, I discovered Adam’s Camp and we registered to take part,” Grainne explained.

Adam’s Camp was founded in 1986 by Bob and Karel Horney for their son Adam who has special needs. The first camp was started in Colorado, but now the model has been replicated in three other locations in the US - New Hampshire, Nantucket and Alaska.

“The camp was so inspirational. It helped Rose gain confidence and maturity.

“It really did bring out the best possible potential in her, and we want to be able to share these therapies with others,” Grainne added.

Grainne, the founder and director of Adam’s Camp NI, and her team are currently raising funds for the first camp in Northern Ireland.

The camp will take place at Corrymeela in Ballycastle from July 16 - 23, 2016. It will follow the same outline as the camps in the US. There will be two programmes available - the Pathfinder programme for children aged between four and eight, and the Trailblazer programme for children aged between eight and 12.

The camp, which is open to 10 children and their families, will use the unique ‘5-5-5’ programme. This is five children working with five therapists for five days.

Grainne and friends held their first fundraiser in Tesco Newtownabbey on Saturday, November 21. The bag packing event raised £1,423.48.

For more info check out the Adam’s Camp Northern Ireland Facebook page.