How the people of Longford can make a difference to the autism community by saying 'Yes'

The focus of Autism Awareness Month is acceptance

Siobhan McNamara

Reporter:

Siobhan McNamara

Email:

siobhan.mcnamara@iconicnews.ie

Donegal TD gives support to autism campaign

AsIAm is a leading austism charity in Ireland

We have certainly come a long way in terms of autism awareness, and now the people of Longford are being asked to take this a step further. 

April is Autism Awareness Month and autism charity AsIAm is calling on people to say ‘Yes’ to autism acceptance.

AsIAm is offering advice and hosting webinars that will help the wider population to better understand autism.

A spokesperson for AsIAm said: “We are delighted to announce our events and webinars for the month of April as part of our World Autism Month campaign. These events will feature members of the autistic community and relevant professionals to cover the many aspects of Autism Acceptance and understanding.”

At least one in every 65 people in Ireland are autistic and nearly 300,000 people have an immediate family member on the autism spectrum. 

“Autistic people are as diverse as the society we live in and are already making contributions to communities across Ireland,” said the spokesperson.

“World Autism Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the autism community in Ireland and beyond as we create more inclusive communities by expanding knowledge, understanding and acceptance. 

“Too often autistic people face invisible barriers because of how the world works and the judgement and attitudes of others. They are so used to being told ‘No.’ 

“We want people to say ‘Yes’ for a change: ‘Yes’ to employment, ‘Yes’ to education and ‘Yes’ to community inclusion.”

People are encouraged to become part of this move for change by sharing #AutismMonthSayYes on social media channels.

Taking part in this visible show of acceptance and understanding is more important now than ever before. Queries to AsIAm support services have increased by 280% in the last year, compared to the same period prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A book is being distributed through SuperValue stores throughout April that outlines what exactly is meant by saying ‘Yes’ to autism acceptance. 

Anyone looking for more information on the work of AsIAm or who wishes to avail of its services or make a donation can find out more at AsIAm.ie

How To Make A Difference

In the meantime, here are 10 ways we can all say ‘Yes’ to autism acceptance, being aware that people with autism process information a little differently to the wider population:

Be clear

Be patient

Reach out

Be aware of the sensory environment

Fill in the gaps

Be accepting

Watch your language

Challenge stigma and bullying

Listen and learn

See each person’s abilities