IT was a proud day for young girl Anna Stack who launched her fundraising colouring book today.
Anna from Midleton was diagnosed with childhood autism when very young. While this has presented her with many challenges along the way it has also been an empowering part of her life.
Anna, who is the youngest daughter of Catherine and Finbarr Stack and sister to Daniel, David and Ciára went to Scartleigh National School where she attended the ASD Unit.
She is a very artistic and creative student. In sixth class she had her first novel published ‘Victoria Bunnyham’, not only did Anna write the book she did all the illustrations herself.
Anna is currently a sixth-year student in St Vincent’s Secondary School. She was the first student enrolled in the Lir Hub - which opened in September 2013 and supports students with Autism who have been recommended to attend a special class placement in a mainstream school. It was the first centre in Ireland to offer support in a girl’s only setting.
Here Ms Siobhán O’Donovan and Ms Claire Barry work with ASD students each day and collaborate with teachers and parents to ensure that each student’s individuality is nurtured and supported.
Anna has built up a portfolio of drawings over her years here at St
Vincent’s where she expresses artistically what Anna’s ideal world would look like.
The vision of SNA Ms Vivien O’Leary Callendar has taken this to the next level. Both Anna and Vivien have compiled 100 illustrations in the form of a colouring book for children called “Anna’s Dream Word” in which she asks the children to “colour Anna’s world their way”.
A total of 1000 copies of the book went on sale this week, in the run-up to Christmas. It costs 5 euro. Money raised will go towards developing a new sensory garden at St Vincent’s.
Copies of her colouring book can be found at Blackpool Shopping Centre, Centra in Carrigtwohill, Scartleigh National School Midleton, The Care Farm Castlemartyr.
This has been made possible by the generosity of the local community through sponsorship and advertising.
Kidz Zone were so impressed with Anna that we asked her to provide us with some illustrations to colour (see page five).
Blackpool Shopping centre also contacted Anna and asked if she would design their 2018 Christmas Card.
A school spokeswoman said: “We as a school community both students, teachers and SNA’s have learnt so much from Anna. Anna is very open about her ASD diagnosis and is very articulate when communicating to her peers what it is like to have autism. This has allowed all of our students to get an insight into ASD and this in turn has engaged them, we have a student body who are very supportive of one another and who have a great understanding of the fact while we all have different needs we can all work together in a positive way.”
Anna’s dream since she was very young was to be famous - it looks like she is beginning to realise her dream.