The Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism is a professional autism service provider, supported by over 60 volunteers, with a mission to provide skills, support and a community hub for children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families in order to promote inclusivity, education and career opportunities leading to a fulfilled lifestyle and participation in all aspects of society. The Centre embraces the whole support system for the child, not only providing professional therapies and courses, but also educating and training parents, carers and professionals to provide the best possible outcomes for our children.
The Centre employs staff in a range of disciplines and specially trained volunteers to provide a holistic, co-ordinated approach to education and skills for children in every aspect of their lives. Each child’s capacity to learn and participate grows as their families, teachers, etc. also gain the skills they need to support them.
The centre is uniquely innovative in an Irish context. It is the only Centre providing an entirely joined-up range of services designed to support children and young people, their families, their carers and the professionals they interact with throughout their lives. All of this takes place under one roof in a community of care and acceptance.
We work to remove educational disadvantage by addressing the entire education cycle from pre-school to early adulthood. This model is transforming lives as children learn the skills and receive the support they need to stay in school and to gain qualifications to enable them to fulfil their potential and contribute to society. Although we are unique, our goal is that our model will be replicated across the country to benefit children with ASD.
The founders of the Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism set out to build a coordinated, holistic centre to provide services and support for families, children and young people dealing with the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) under one roof. As parents of two boys with ASD, Karen and Jon O’Mahony understood the enormous stress placed on families as they try to find the services and support they need at each stage of their child’s life.
The innovative and unique design of the Centre is a holistic community where every aspect of the challenges of ASD is supported. We provide a coordinated pathway of care and a thriving hub of support for every child and their family from the time they begin at the Centre until they reach young adulthood.
Every family experiences a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary approach where the future of their child is embraced, and they can build on their progress and be supported through transitions. The range of different activities and therapies we provide, including social groups, music, sports, mentoring, professional therapies and a community café, ensures that each child and young person is supported in a holistic way and allowed to explore the therapies and activities that will benefit them most.
Karen O’Mahony founded the Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism in 2015 with her husband Jon as a response to their search for services for their two sons Stephen and Sean. In just four years Karen has built an organisation that currently supports more than 400 children and their families every week.
Over that time Karen has worked tirelessly to raise funds and build a staff of professionals and volunteers to provide crucial services in a thriving community hub. The overwhelming success of the Centre is a testament to Karen’s relentless drive and capacity to maximise limited resources.
Karen is inspired every day by her boys to keep learning and keep trying. She understands the challenges faced by parents and carers who are trying to believe in themselves and find the courage they need to support their children. She believes that every child and family at the Centre is unique, special and deserves someone to fight for them and be there for them. That is Karen and the staff of the Centre does each day