News & Events

OSSME Celebrates 20 Special Years

Posted on 22nd November 2018

OSSME Birthday Event Highlights Needs of Autistic Children in Liverpool ...

OSSME, a specialist autism service which supports children and young people in Merseyside and Cheshire, celebrated its 20 year anniversary this week alongside autistic people, families, professionals and autism practitioners.

The event which took place at the Liverpool Medical Institute on 21 November, saw people from across the region coming together to highlight the need for autism specific support focussed on children in mainstream education and celebrating the achievements of Autism Initiatives’ ground breaking service OSSME.

Speakers included the charity’s Patron Dame Lorna Muirhead; Liverpool City Cllr. Barry Kushner; OSSME Manager Sharon Williams and a number of parents, professionals and autistic people who have worked alongside OSSME.

OSSME, which stands for Outreach Support Services in Mainstream Education was initially set up in 1998 by charity Autism Initiatives UK to provide specialist support to autistic children in the region and to work alongside schools and colleges, and other professionals, to ensure each child and young person fulfilled their potential.

Over the last twenty years OSSME has evolved and now also provides support to autistic children excluded from school; free parent training courses; and training and support to employers, in addition to working with children and young people in mainstream education.

Cllr. Barry Kushner speaking at the event highlighted the ongoing need for OSSME’s support services in Liverpool saying: “More than 40% of children excluded from school in the City have special needs and many of these have autism.” The Labour councillor for Norris Green who represents children and young people in the City Council went on to say the way children are treated across the City was inconsistent.  He said.  “We should not put our children in silos, those that can be in mainstream education should have the opportunity and support to thrive.”

It is estimated that OSSME has supported more than 500 autistic children and young people to reach their potential within mainstream education plus hundreds more families and professionals since it started.

OSSME Manager Sharon Williams said: “I am proud to be a part of the OSSME team and to lead a group of dedicated, skilled professionals who strive to make a difference every single day.  With the right support and understanding of how autism affects each individual uniquely every autistic child and young person should have the opportunity to achieve their ambitions and reach their potential.  We support, empower and enable people to change their own lives.”

Autism Initiatives UK was founded in 1972 by a Merseyside mum who couldn’t find the support she needed for her autistic son.  Nearly fifty years on the charity now supports over 3,000 autistic people, families and professionals each year across the UK and Ireland.  The charity works positively alongside people with autism, their families and carers providing specialist services tailored to each individual.

Find out more about OSSME