Good morning all! I am on a train to Roscommon, where we will today bring our Schools Programme to Roscommon Community College, and wanted to grab this opportunity to write a quick blog to update you on the “AsYouCan” campaign which we are focusing on during World Autism Awareness Month.

We kick-started the campaign on our 1st Anniversary, Tuesday 31st March, with the aim of engaging the various stakeholders in our communities to consider their own attitudes towards Autism and to take action to be more Autism friendly, even in 1 small, little way.

For those who have not yet seen it, this our official campaign video:

The central message of this campaign is a) Autism is a matter for everyone in the community, not just those with the condition, doctors or politicians and b) being Autism-friendly is really not that difficult – small changes makes a BIG difference.

To date we have received a superb response from stakeholders and, beginning this week, will hold a number of meetings with different organisations who want to get involved and learn more. On Thursday, I travel to Laois where we will hold a public meeting for community stakeholders and on Friday and Saturday, I will be in Cork where I will speak at UCC conference on Autism and meet with a number of stakeholder groups.

Each day, we are shining a light on a particular industry on AsIAm.ie and each day we hear from organisation in that field, who want to learn more and find out how they can make a difference. This comes as no surprise because we have been clear from the outset, being Autism-friendly is not about being charitable, it is about being smart, as a business or organisation, where you can access new people, talents, markets and ways of doing things. Being Autism friendly is good for society and good for business and we are delighted that this message seems to be resonating.

However, these is still much to be done to embed this campaign, and Autism awareness, into every community on this Island. To that end, I urge you to join us on this journey by:

A) Downloading industry-specific handbooks here and distributing them to the relevant people in YOUR community. Challenge those you give them to to take a #AsIWill Pledge using this template.

B) If you are a member of the public, business person or organisation member, to explore the materials and make a pledge yourself.

C) This campaign is all about the sharing of experiences. Tell us using #AsYouCan or by email to adam@asiam (for longer pieces) positive experiences you have had of people being Autism-friendly or join us a 9pm on Tuesday, on Twitter and Facebook, where we ask users to name businesses/organisations who have been Autism-friendly to them in the past, we give them a shout-out and letter of thanks in return.

Our cause is lucky to have its own Awareness Month, lets use it to address everyday challenges in our communities!

Until next time,

Adam 🙂 140821_M1_78