A new community group has been established with the aim of positioning the seaside village of Sandymount as a national leader in becoming neurodiversity-friendly.
Founded by a group of parents of autistic children and those with other neurodivergent profiles, Neurodiversity Sandymount has partnered with AslAm, the national autism charity, to help create an environment where ‘different brains and unique thinkers’ are welcomed.
According to Neurodiversity Sandymount, embracing these different brains and their qualities and strengths can benefit the entire community.
“Sandymount is already a great example of inclusivity, with specialist autism classrooms in two local schools, Scoil Mhuire and Star of the Sea,” said Dairine Cullen, co-founder of Neurodiversity Sandymount.
“Now we are asking the entire village to join us in making the small changes needed to ensure even more awareness and understanding for neurodiverse children and their families. The more support we get from people and businesses in the village, the bigger difference we can make to our children’s lives and to the entire Sandymount community.”
A number of high-profile local businesses have already pledged their support for the initiative including Tesco, the Sandymount Hotel, Mira Mira and Crudo.
Anne Rabbite TD and Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, who supports the initiative said: “I’d like to congratulate Neurodiversity Sandymount on their launch. I’ve seen first-hand the dedication of parents and supporters on the ground and their advocacy for better, more equitable services for children. With the inclusion of neurodivergent children at its heart, the voice of parents, guardians and children themselves is so important in ensuring all views are considered at all levels, whether in government, the HSE or its funded service providers.”
Launched to coincide with World Autism Month this month, Neurodiversity Sandymount is organising a series of events and initiatives to raise awareness and help people to understand the challenges and needs of neurodivergent people. The group has created a symbol representing the concept of being ‘A friend to everyone’ that can be displayed in local businesses and worn by neurodivergent children and their families to signal to others that extra compassion and understanding may be needed.
The group is also working to make it easier for people and especially families to have positive and inclusive conversations about autism and neurodivergence.
The group is also offering specialist education and training to those businesses, schools and community groups wishing to achieve greater inclusivity. Further details are available at www.neurodiversityireland.com
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