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An Autism Empowerment Strategy for Ireland: A Factsheet

The creation of a National Autism Strategy is one of AsIAm’s primary advocacy goals.

Autism strategies are well-established across several European states. Governments in countries such as Denmark, Hungary, Spain, the UK and, most recently, Malta have integrated autism inclusion into their respective legislative agendas.

Greater public awareness about autism and of the challenges faced by those living with it in recent years has signaled a marked shift in conversations around disability rights and inclusion. Countries with these strategies in place are internationally recognised as leaders in implementing best practices for citizens with disabilities’ inclusion and empowerment.

In March 2018, Ireland officially ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Signatory states are obligated to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. Despite this, autistic people continue to experience discrimination.

Despite several tentative bills, no autism-specific action has been introduced into Ireland’s agenda. At present, there is no mention of autism in the Irish Statute Book. Ideally, an Autism Empowerment Strategy would take look beyond clinical supports and towards the tangible rights-based issues facing the community such as unemployment and inaccessible services. 

A robust National Autism Strategy would include adjusted and enhanced access to appropriate support services, nationwide training for parents and other persons who work with autistic people and crucially, empowering autistic individuals through providing full participation in society through health, education and self-determination.

In essence, it means pivoting away from an isolated, medicalised view of autism to viewing it within the lense of wider society, requiring a state-wide approach to ensure autistic people both reach their full potential and become active participants in a society who accepts them as they are.

For more information read our factsheet below or download it here.

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