Building Blocks

Building Blocks School Support Service provides advice and support to children with a diagnosis of Autism attending mainstream Primary and Secondary Schools in Cork City and surrounds. The service has been in operation for the past nine years, and in that time in excess of 150 students have benefitted and advanced as a result.


This service targets a range of issues including communication, academic, social and bullying, as well as challenging behaviour issues. The service is operated by Laura Crowley, BA ECS(hons) MA Ed(Open) who has been working within the area of Autism for the past 14 years. Laura approaches each case individually, and will work to increase skills, and target deficits in order to assist the child in moving forward and reaching their full potential. Laura works closely with schools to provide individualised support and guidelines, but can also provide parents with assistance and support.

Referrals to the service are accepted from both parents and school personnel, but explicit permission must be sought from the other party before the initial contact is made. You can contact Laura at or alternatively by calling 021-4377052.

PALS- Personal and Life Skills Programme


The PALS Programme has been designed and operated by the Shine Centre for the past four years. This programme, the first of it’s kind, places equal emphasis on personal and emotional self management skills, self esteem and social skill development. It directly addresses the barriers to social skill advancement through individualised child centred lessons, and constantly feeds back information and lesson plans to parents.

The PALS Programme is open to children between the ages of 11 and 14, with a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism (HFA) or Asperger’s Syndrome, attending a mainstream school. The Programme operates over an 18 month period, with the first section running from January to June. Following a 6 month break, another section will run from January to June in the next year. A maximum of 6 places are available in each programme, with one programme open each year.

Parent involvement is paramount, and all skills covered are sent home with the child, with practical work to be completed before the next session, in the child’s own natural environment. We welcome parent feedback, and our Co -ordinator, Laura Crowley, is available to advise and answer parent queries whenever they may arise.
For further information, or to place your child on the PALS waitlist, please contact Laura Crowley in the Shine Centre on 021-4377052 or alternatively email

Please be advised, the waitlist for this programme can be quite lengthy, and places are awarded on a first come first served basis.



Anxiety & Autism:


These video presentations take a closer look at how and why children with a diagnosis of autism are more prone to experiencing anxiety. It also examines how anxiety presents in children with autism using the flight, fight, freeze model. While anxiety is not necessarily a feature of everyone with autism, children with autismare more prone to experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Support during change helps to reduce anxiety and preparation can make all the difference! Visual schedules and social stories can help to remove uncertainty from daily life as well as in new or unfamiliar situations. It ͛ s important to explain to the child why something is happening to reduce anxiety levels. This explanation will depend on the child ͛ s language ability. Anxiety can also be reduced through physical activity or by simply reducing the sensory load that the child is experiencing. The following videos will take you through an explanation of what anxiety is and how to better manage it with your child.

Please click on the link to view the video presentation:


Presentation 1: What is anxiety?

Presentation 2: Anxiety & Autism

Presentation 3: Anxiety & Change

Presentation 4: Anxiety Causes & Strategies

Presentation 5: Managing Anxiety




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