Autism Advocacy is a keystone of the work AsIAm provides in Ireland. Our organisation seeks to provide a voice for autistic people and their families. Our Community Support Team undertakes policies and campaigns to highlight the needs, views and experiences of autistic people.
This is done firstly through the efforts of our Community Support Officer, who signposts community members to relevant services, supports and networks and in some cases advocates on behalf of families. We also provide information and guidance through the Community Support Seminars, which gather relevant professionals and community members to address topics relevant to the world of autism and answer questions from attendees.
Our policy work involves engaging with members of our community to research and create policy documents, meet with relevant authorities such as TDs or Cabinet Ministers and contributing to relevant groups or committees such as IHREC. Reflecting the concerns of the autism community, AsIAm believes access to supports and services for the community takes priority over any other issue.
While AsIAm provides training and accreditation to provide autism friendly status to individual businesses and services such as schools, workplaces and public spaces, we also acknowledge autism advocacy means addressing inequalities at a systemic level. To this end, the creation of a National Autism Strategy is a long- term goal of our autism advocacy work.
As well as highlighting issues at a systemic level, we also provide guidance and advocate for individual autistic people in navigating day to day life and interacting with government services. We believe that the voices of autistic people must be central to all our advocacy efforts and so we work to develop the advocacy skills of community members through initiatives like our Youth Leadership Team, who help design AsIAm resources and who lend perspective from our community’s younger members and become advocates in their own right.