Ireland's Autism Charity
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As I Am

AsIAm is Ireland’s Autism charity. We’re here to provide evidence-based advice, resources, and guidance that the community can trust. Alongside this, we endeavour to make Irish society a more inclusive and accepting place, where Autistic people have the same chance.

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1 in 27 school-going children in Ireland are Autistic

About Us

Since 2014, AsIAm has been a powerful movement for change for the Autism community in Ireland. What started as an online platform designed to share information and experiences, has evolved into Ireland’s Autism Charity.

AsIAm is Autistic-led and we are dedicated to transforming society, working for Autistic people and their families. Our work focuses on representing, connecting, coordinating and unifying the Autism community in Ireland. We empower and support Autistic people to reach their full potential, while simultaneously challenging society to be fully accepting and accessible to every Autistic person.

We advocate for our community by raising awareness of Autism and providing training and accreditation to schools, HEIs, employers and organisations on how to become more Autism-friendly.

Through our policy work we regularly engage directly with the Autistic community and produce reports and policy submissions to government and other state bodies. We run Child and Family support programmes as well as Adult Support and Wellbeing programmes which provide safe and relaxed support spaces for Autistic children and adults. We issue Autism ID Cards which act as a powerful tool for people of all ages to navigate their daily routines. Our dedicated Autism Information Line is available Monday-Thursday from 10am-3pm for Autism specific information and signposting.


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Autism ID Card

AsIAm’s Autism ID Card is a useful  tool for autistic people of all ages to navigate their daily routines. It’s hard to predict what will happen from day to day, and if we find ourselves in a place where we feel overwhelmed, confused or just  need a little help, the ID Card is a  great way to advocate for yourself or your child.

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How can I tell if my child is Autistic?

As a parent, you will be very attuned to your child’s development. But that does not always mean that signs of delay or developmental differences will be obvious to you. It is important to recognise that your child might not always show what is thought of as ‘classic’ signs that they are autistic. For example, sometimes parents might think “my child couldn’t be autistic” because their child is very sociable or makes eye contact. Autistic children learn to ‘mask’ , which means they are able to ‘perform’ behaviour that is deemed to be the social norm. It is important to take note of any slight changes or differences in your child, for example, your child may be conversational but may be delayed in their response or might repeat phrases from their favourite tv shows, movies or songs.  If your child has sensory challenges it might be observable in their emotions or anxiety levels in a busy place such as a shopping centre or how they feel about labels of their clothes or wearing certain fabrics for example. If your child has trouble getting to sleep and sleeping through the night, this may be a sign that they might be struggling and need help. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with any aspect of your child’s behaviour, even if they are engaging in behaviours that would not be thought of as ‘typical’ behaviours such as flapping or rocking. Your child’s behaviour serves a function for them and allows them to regulate their environment.

It is also important to remember that autism is genetic, which means that there are a great many undiagnosed autistic parents of autistic children. Sometimes these parents don’t see signs of their child’s autism because it is how they themselves interact, communicate and understand the world.

If you see signs that your child might be autistic, or you are concerned about your child’s development, it is a good idea to talk to somebody. Talking to your GP sooner rather than later will help you on the path to understanding and supporting your child best.

How to support an Autistic adult or child?

The most important thing to keep in mind with regards to “treatments” is that there should be no treatment which targets autism in general. Autism itself is not something that needs to be “treated.” However, your child may have specific challenges in different areas which they could use some help in. There are many approaches and forms of support which can help people with autism to manage their condition and fulfil their potential. These include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy.

Unfortunately, there are many ‘treatments’ for autism out there that are not evidence-based and can actually be detrimental to your child’s progression. It is very important that you choose supports or treatments that are credible and provided by credible, accredited professionals.

The first thing to do when you are looking at treatments for your child is to think what is the goal of this treatment? If you are looking to support for your child so that they will behave ‘not autistically’ or more typically then you should scrap this goal. Supporting your autistic child should be about embracing your child’s differences and uniqueness. The goal of seeking supports for your child should be about your child being happier, more engaged and embracing of their identity.

A good way to gage whether a treatment or support will have a positive effect on your child is by looking for feedback from the autistic community. Autistic adults are your best way of understanding the effects of a treatment or support and their past experience of that support is a great way of knowing what supports are ‘right’ or ‘safe’ for your child and which to avoid.  

Choosing a support or treatment that is evidence-based is very important, however it is also important to note that just because a treatment is ‘evidence-based’ does not mean that it will suit your child or that it is a good treatment. There are many treatments in the past that would have had a strong evidence base but today these treatments are dismissed. Keep critical of the treatments you are considering for your child. Ensure the person providing the support is fully qualified and accredited. Have a look and see if they are a member of accreditation groups such as the PSI (Psychological Society Ireland), the IACP (Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) or the IASLT (Irish Association for Speech and Language Therapists). Ask in advance of seeing any therapist if they have experience of working with autism and the kinds of strategies and models they use and follow.

How do I know if someone is Autistic?

Autism, like many other neurodivergent conditions, is an invisible disability which exists on a spectrum. As a result, autistic traits are not universal and are often specific to the person. Autistic adults can go without a diagnosis for years, often well into middle age. This is especially true of women on the spectrum who are prone to ‘masking’ their traits – that is to say, disguising them from their peers.

Can an Autistic person live independently?

With the right supports, autistic people can live as independently as anyone else. It is important to stress that given autism’s nature as a spectrum, support needs are often fluid. One autistic adult may live independently but need supports for work. However, this may be the opposite for another.

Can an Autistic person work?

With the right supports, autistic people can enter the working world.  Much like their neurotypical peers this depends on vocation, education and levels of training. Some will work for a few hours on a defined task whereas others may pursue full time work. For autism-specific supports there are organisations such as Specialisterne, AHEAD and Not So Different. These groups assist autistic people in developing the skills to enter the workplace. Additionally, workplaces have legal obligation to provide Reasonable Accommodations. These ensure employees with additional needs are supported their place of work.