News archive Winter Newsletter Autumn Newsletter 2019 Mary McAleese on Saint Mary's of the Angels Ahead of the 50th Anniversary celebrations for Saint Mary of the Angels, former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese has spoken of her admiration for all the fantastic work done each and every day by its staff, supporters, fundraisers, donors and community. “Martin and I spent an entire day of our honeymoon in March 1976 in St Mary of the Angels. An old family friend Claire Devanney from Belfast was then a nun physiotherapist there doing wonderful work and in her little leisure time she made the beautiful Stations of the Cross for the chapel. The place was a powerhouse of loving care for those dear little ones who had been burdened with disabilities. We were enthralled and overwhelmed in equal measure. Our hearts were sore for the families of the children. But we were relieved that such a place existed and that its mission was to provide pathways to the best life possible for those in their charge. As St Mary of the Angels celebrates a big birthday it is impossible to quantify the debt Ireland owes its staff, supporters, fundraisers, donors and community. They brought light where there was darkness and hope where there was heartache. Maybe we will spend our 50th wedding anniversary there for that day in March 1976 gave us memories that have endured.” Suzanne House playground officially opened Having started work in November 2017, the wonderful new playground in Suzanne House was officially opened on Wednesday March 21st 2018. Mr Jim Fitzharris from Smurfit Kappa Foundation and Oran Neasy, one of the Suzanne House gang, cut the ribbon and a lovely afternoon of tea and cakes followed. The nurses and parents at Suzanne House are all delighted with the new playground and have said the new playground is going down very well not just with the gang, but with their siblings too. Laila and Georgina enjoying the playground The Secret Agent Society Programme at Lucena Clinic The Secret Agent Society (SAS) Program uses exciting games and activities to improve the social skills and emotional understanding of 8 to 12 year olds with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), including Asperger Syndrome. This flexible program helps professionals improve children’s emotional understanding and social skills by teaching them: How to recognise simple and complex emotions in themselves and others. How to express feelings in appropriate ways. How to cope with feelings of anger and anxiety. How to start, continue and end conversations and play activities with others. How to tell the difference between friendly joking and mean teasing. How to manage bullying. How to cope with making mistakes. How to handle new situations and ask for help when needed. How to make friends. The Secret Agent Society (SAS) Program provides a combination of individual sessions with a group program that provides children with the skills that they need to manage their emotions and to learn how to behave appropriately in social situations. Included in the program is workshops for parents and information for teachers to assist them to learn how to best manage behaviours and how to support the child to practice their newly learned skills. FAQS:What age range is the program suitable for? The program was designed for 8 to 12 year old children. However, it has been successfully used with youth up to the age of 15. Children younger than 8 may struggle to understand some of the language and concepts. Is the program suitable for children with lower functioning autism? The program was designed for children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders, such as Asperger Syndrome. Children with intellectual delays may struggle to understand the language and concepts used throughout the program, and will need additional adult support.