Wednesday 20 June 2018

Lighting the way to autism awareness

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Frontline public sector workers are to receive training on how best to help people with autism through a small pilot project being spear-headed by a young man who has Asperger Syndrome.

For the first time ever, Ireland is taking part in World Autism Awareness Week, with many buildings going blue as part of the drive to break down the barriers of misunderstanding surrounding the condition.

Adam Harris (20) who founded the AsIAm foundation to provide information and break down the stigma surrounding autism, said funding has been provided by the Department for Justice and Equality for the pilot scheme to train 15 public sector workers on how to cater for people with autism. The programme is due to start at the end of the month.

Adam, who is a younger brother to TD Simon Harris, said he tries to keep his work separate from his family ties but admitted he is "often in Simon's ear" talking to him about what needs to be done to help people with autism in the community, with an estimated 50,000 people in Ireland believed to have the condition.

A talk at the Eir building in Heuston South Quarter Dublin yesterday was organised by Eir staff member Ciara Roberts, whose six-year-old son has autism and who said she was aware of other colleagues who also have children with the same condition.

The building in Heuston South Quarter is being lit up with blue lights to mark World Autism Awareness Week.

Irish Independent

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