The AsIAm Autism ID Card was introduced in August 2019 to assist the autistic community in self-advocating in their daily lives. Within six months, the worldwide disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, made resources like this more important than ever as businesses closed and familiar routines became difficult or impossible to follow.
Our annual report of the effectiveness of the Autism ID Card, based on a survey of just under 500 card holders, was designed to receive feedback from the autistic community about the effectiveness of the card, areas for improvement and common challenges experienced in daily life. This report is a central component to how we’ll improve the card but, more importantly, also in identifying the issues and experiences of the autism community and, therefore, the areas AsIAm needs to focus on.
The findings of our report indicate a lack of support, high levels of under or unemployment and a need for greater public understanding of autism in 2021. For example, 92% of respondents reported this Irish public didn’t understand enough about autism. Healthcare, employment and socialising were highlighted as particular areas of concern for AsIAm moving forward.
CEO Adam Harris concluded “74% of respondents felt the government did not take a coordinated approach to supporting the autism community. Autistic people face persistent barriers to accessing basic supports in health, education, work and housing which are not experienced by non-autistic people. We must build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and we can do this by putting in place a National Autism Strategy.”
The greatest priorities for respondents were for AsIAm to focus on building greater Autism Understanding among the public and addressing social isolation, which has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to address these specific concerns with relation to autism in 2021.