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Boyzone star supports autism campaign in Britain


A Dublin singing star is supporting a mobile phone recycling scheme in aid of children with autism.


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Boyzone’s Keith Duffy, along with Manchester United footballer Paul Scholes and TV presenter Melanie Sykes, has just launched a new campaign in Britain to help provide iPads for children with autism.


The scheme is already underway in Ireland where is has helped over 1,000 children with the condition to improve their communication skills.


Jennifer Cullinan from Irish Autism Action said:  “Since last July we have given out 1,200 iPads in exchange for mobile phones. Parents are finding huge improvements.


“We have had a number of non-verbal children say their first words shortly after getting the device. In one case a three-year-old boy said his first word just three weeks after getting the iPad and now attempts every word he hears.”


The programme in Britain is being run in conjunction with the Manchester-based autism charity, Hearts & Minds.


Keith Duffy, Paul Scholes and Melanie Sykes have all lent their support, each being the parent of an autistic child.


Ian McGrath from Hearts and Minds said of the celebrity support: “Their involvement raises the profile of the campaign and helps to us to reach a far bigger audience.”


Hearts & Minds has set itself the goal of persuading just under one per cent of the British population to support and register for the campaign.


This would provide 155,000 iPads to children with autism.


Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that usually appears before the age of three.


Autism affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication and is marked by severe difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with people as well as in developing language and using abstract concepts.


The numbers of those diagnosed with autism is rising.


The National Autistic Society in Britain says the condition now affects 1 in 166 children here, with numbers similar in Ireland.


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