A new initiative that will see Dublin become the first autism-friendly capital city in the world was announced by The Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste today, at the launch of Inclusion and Integration Week. This will be achieved through participation in the AsIAm Autism-Friendly Communities Awards Programme.
The Lord Mayor is establishing a steering group comprising of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, elected officials, stakeholders, advocacy groups, those with lived experience, parents and academics and the group will carry out four public events between now and Christmas to discuss the formation of a plan, what should be included, what metrics should be set and how it will be managed.
The four events will also cover:
· Overarching goals for the city
· Build landscape
· Public awareness and understanding
· Individual sectors
“In a world where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated, Dublin’s vision is to become the world’s first capital city to be designated autism friendly,” said the Lord Mayor. “In a vibrant and dynamic city known for its rich history and cultural heritage, we envision a Dublin that not only recognises, but actively nurtures the unique abilities and talents of its autistic residents and visitors. To truly champion inclusivity, we are planting a flag in the ground to embark on a journey to create a city where autistic individuals and their families feel welcomed, supported, and fully engaged in every aspect of city life.”
A three-year plan for Dublin to become an autism-friendly city will be launched in January 2024. The plan will not only address physical infrastructure but also take into account education, healthcare, recreation and community support, all guided by input from Autistic people and their families and supported by key metrics. In addition to the development of the plan, the city will also recruit Champion organisations, in the business, public and voluntary sectors, who will undertake training and commit to making small changes, such as implementing quiet times.
Responding to the announcement, Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm, Ireland’s Autism Charity, said “We are over the moon that the Lord Mayor has set Dublin the challenge of becoming an Autism-Friendly capital city, through participation in our awards programme. Autistic people face barriers in society that others don’t even see. This initiative, through both small individual changes and a big collective vision, will help ensure that every Autistic person living in Dublin has the same chance to live, work and play. Being an Autism Friendly City not only means making day to day activities such as shopping
or engaging with public services easier for those of us who are Autistic, it sends a valuable message that everyone is valued and welcome and the positive impact of that sense of belonging, for everyone who lives in Dublin, cannot be underestimated.”
The announcement of the initiative for Dublin to become the first autism-friendly capital city in the world is a key flagship event of Inclusion and Integration Week 2023. The aim of the week is to highlight the positive work carried out by Dublin City Council and other agencies to promote social inclusion, integration and diversity in our city. The week’s events are organised by Dublin City Council’s Housing and Community Services Department working collaboratively with a range of delivery partners. More information about the week is available here. #DublinCityInclusion23