We believe that in order to build a fairer Ireland for those with Autism we must develop the leadership and self-advocacy skills of the Autism community.
AsIAm aims to provide a one-stop shop for the Autism community in Ireland. From providing the public and those with the condition to a portal of information about Autism, to serving a platform for people affected by Autism to share their stories and views, to providing a strong voice for the concerns of the community.
Projects in 2018
The AsIAm.ie Secondary School Workshops, see our school speakers visit SecoColaite Iosagain pcindary School across Ireland and providing aworkshop to students, in order to help them to gain a greater understanding of Autism. AsIAm.ie developed this programme in the hope of making school easier for teenagers with Autism, who can often feel misunderstood, and also to bring about an awareness of Autism among young people generally.
We believe that in order for people with Autism to be truly included in society, people must be provided with the skills to be able to advocate for themselves and have their voices heard so that society will understand and be open to those with the autism. AsIAm put out an open call across Ireland, to young people with autism, who would like to act as ambassadors for the charity, by directing and influencing our work, the work of others, the media and the general public. At AsIAm, we passionately believe there is a real need to have the voices of young people with Autism heard. As part of setting up the Youth Leadership Team, we traveled the country and met with parents and siblings whose young adults can not advocate for themselves. We are incredibly proud of our YLT whose work to date has seen the creation of a new social media campaign, #AskAsIAm, online autism awareness platform for young people, youthhub.asiam.ie, and the creation of an Autism exhibition, which has traveled the country and enabled young people to get an “experience” of life with Autism. Head over to the Youth Hub section in the website, and find out more about the Youth Leadership Team, and their work for 2018.
AsIAm is committed to an Ireland where every member of the Autism Community can fully participate and thrive. We believe a key part of this is ensuring front-line public services such as transport services, emergency services and public offices have an understanding of the condition and are able to ensure that their services are accessible to the needs of those with the condition. Too often, the accessibility needs of people with Autism in areas such as communication and sensory processing are overlooked. We want to change this and, with the support of the National Disability Authority and the Department of Justice and Equality, we have been working to train frontline public services to become more Autism-Friendly. To date we have provided several training courses, including 2-day multi-agency training events as well as agency specific training sessions. To date, we have welcomed participants from a wide variety of agencies, including: An Garda Siochana The Irish Prison Service The Courts Service of Ireland The Probation Service Irish Rail Bus Eireann Dublin Bus Coillte National Ambulance Service Kildare County Council Dublin City Council Public Appointments Service Local Government Management Agency Revenue Commission We are continuing to provide this training on an ongoing basis and also are preparing to launch an online version to increase the number of staff we can engage – we expect to launch this platform in the coming weeks
Dublin City University is working towards becoming Ireland’s first autism friendly campus through a collaboration between DCU, AsIAm and Specialisterne Ireland (a specialist consultancy that recruits and supports people with Autism) The project was developed as more people with Autism are attending education in Ireland than ever before. 86% of those with Autism attend mainstream school or an autism class in a mainstream school. This highlights the fact that people with Autism are capable of engaging with an academic curriculum and integrating into a mainstream environment. However people with Autism can find transition and change difficult and therefore, the transition to college – from a highly structured, controlled environment to an independent, adult world can be particularly challenging. University presents an important opportunity for people with Autism to go on and access the jobs market, study a subject they are interested in and socialise through activities and special interests. It is important, as we see more and more young people come through the school’s system with Autism, to explore the University experience of those currently enrolled, to identify key barriers and challenges and to explore how we can develop University as an “Autism-friendly” environment. The work to date with DCU has involved conducting a campus wide survey, to all students, and focus groups with staff to capture their experiences, knowledge and attitudes about autism. We are now working with the University to raise awareness and deliver training about Autism. This has included working with students to set up a society ‘Spectrum’ for students with autism, and their friends. We will be holding our ‘Autism Experience’ Exhibition in the helix and on the Saint Patrick’s campus, and deliver training to students and staff throughout March and April. We hope that by identifying the key concerns and difficulties of students with Autism, to make a series of recommendations to the University to further meet the needs of students on campus. This will lead to an improved college experience for students with Autism in DCU. ‘This project was approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund’
AsIAm has delivered “The Autism Experience” Exhibition, as part of our YouthHub campaign, supported by the Department of Justice & Equality, in venues across Ireland since June 2016. To date we have visited Wicklow, Dublin, Portlaoise, Ennis and Cork. The aim of this pop-up exhibition is to engage young people, aged 16-22, in gaining a greater insight into what it is like to live with Autism. While many people have heard the word Autism, very few truly understand it and fewer still have a sense of what it is actually like to face the challenges those with Autism experience. This exhibition is presented in a Q&A format which makes it accessible and engaging for visitors and includes an audio guide and a range of activities to enable visitors to “step into the shoes” of someone with the condition. Have you ever considered: How would you feel if you could not read or see words clearly? How would you feel if you could not understand what people are saying to you because you did not understand the language?Shot of Exhibition 3 How would you feel if you could not hear directions being given to you, because you can hear all the surrounding noise?How would you feel if you could not communicate using your voice? How else would you get your message across the people? How would you feel if the texture or smell of food felt so unpleasant that you did not want to eat it? How would you feel if you found it difficult to walk up and down stairs and use public transport At our exhibition we will answer these questions and let you experience some of these challenges! Shot of ExhibitionThe idea of the exhibition is not to be a local attraction, rather it is hoped that it will act as catalyst in local communities – engaging young people from different backgrounds and clubs into thinking about their role in building a more inclusive society for young people with Autism. Becoming an adult and starting out in life can be hard for everyone but for people with Autism, who can find change difficult, it can be especially tough. It can also be tougher when people don’t understand the condition and so don’t include people with the condition in school, college, the workplace and the community. We encourage visitors to check out the exhibition and to become part of the answer to building an inclusive society. Young Sensory Area 2people are asked to tweet us at #ImPartoftheAnswer after their visit, make a pledge to do one thing to be more inclusive and check out our new YouthHub! As part of this drive, w run a social media campaign over the course of an exhibition to engage young people online and encourage people to visit the exhibition and help bring about change.
AsIAm.ie is working to develop an online, central point of information on Autism and the Autism Community on our website - this is an ongoing effort and is at the heart of our work