Clane chosen to become Ireland’s next 'Autism Friendly Town' in pioneering initiative.

Rose B O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Rose B O'Donoghue

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content@kildarenow.com

Clane chosen to become Ireland’s next 'Autism Friendly Town' in pioneering initiative.

Clane in Co Kildare has been invited to participate in an innovative nationwide initiative

Clane, Co Kildare has been invited to participate in an innovative pioneering nationwide scheme that will see the village become one of the country’s first Autism friendly towns.

The 'AsIAm' Autism Friendly Town initiative - also dubbed the ‘Clonakilty Commitment’ after the hugely successful pilot project carried out in Clonakilty, Co Cork last year - sees local representatives from across the community partner with 'AsIAm' and Condron’s Supervalu to help Clane become certified as Autism Friendly.

The process kicked off last November when Adam Harris CEO of 'AsIAm' delivered an inspirational talk to an audience of 260 people drawn from all corners of the local community. People on that night were encouraged to register their interest in the project and they did so in their droves.

The aim of the initiative is to foster a culture of autism empowerment and inclusion throughout the locality. Key to this is developing an understanding of the main barriers to inclusion for autistic people which include: communication, predictability and control, sensory processing and judgements and attitudes.

Hence, over the coming months people across the community will be engaging in autism awareness training while engagement will take place with local businesses and public services to identify opportunities for positive change. Although the focus of the scheme is autism specific the benefits of this will be broad and are sure to resonate right throughout the community.

Committee left to right-Tess Cullen (local business rep), Joanna Cullen (GAA rep), Louise Cullen (Parent rep), John Kennedy (Tidy Towns Rep), Seamus O’Connor (Parent rep), Alan Condron (SuperValu Rep), Karen Malin (Education Rep), Robert Mahon (Clane Community Council), Julie Dorel (Musgrave's Guest Speaker). Not in photo: Samantha Buckmaster (Parent Rep & Kildare Autism Network Rep).

Co-ordinating the initiative is the Clane Autism Friendly Committee. The committee is comprised of representatives from across the community and brings together local autistic people, parent groups, local businesses, education and sports clubs. Everyone will be pulling together to ensure that Autism Friendly Accreditation is achieved for Clane in April 2020.