Dublin plans to become world’s first Autism-friendly capital city

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

A new initiative which aims to make Dublin the first autism-friendly capital city in the world was announced by The Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste on Monday, November 6, at the launch of Inclusion and Integration Week.

This will be achieved through participation in the AsIAm Autism-Friendly Communities Awards Programme.

A three-year plan for Dublin to become an autism-friendly city will be launched in January 2024.

In addition to physical infrastructure, the plan will also take education, healthcare, recreation and community support into account, all guided by input from  people with autism and their families.

The city will also recruit champion organisations in the business, public and voluntary sectors, who will undertake training and commit to making small changes, such as implementing quiet times.

A steering group is currently being established, comprising of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, elected officials, stakeholders, advocacy groups, those with lived experience, parents and academics.

The group will carry out four public events between now and Christmas to discuss the formation of a plan, what should be included, what metrics should be set and how it will be managed.

“In a world where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated, Dublin’s vision is to become the world’s first capital city to be designated autism friendly,” said the Lord Mayor.

“In a vibrant and dynamic city known for its rich history and cultural heritage, we envision a Dublin that not only recognises, but actively nurtures the unique abilities and talents of its autistic residents and visitors.

“To truly champion inclusivity, we are planting a flag in the ground to embark on a journey to create a city where autistic individuals and their families feel welcomed, supported, and fully engaged in every aspect of city life.”

“This initiative, through both small individual changes and a big collective vision, will help ensure that every Autistic person living in Dublin has the same chance to live, work and play,” said Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm, Ireland’s Autism Charity.

“Being an Autism Friendly City not only means making day to day activities such as shopping or engaging with public services easier for those of us who are Autistic, it sends a valuable message that everyone is valued and welcome and the positive impact of that sense of belonging, for everyone who lives in Dublin, cannot be underestimated.”

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