Houses of the Oireachtas Obtains AsIAm Accreditation: World’s First Autism-Friendly Parliament

Today, at an event held in Leinster House, Adam Harris (CEO) and the team from AsIAm presented the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD with the AsIAm Autism Accreditation Certificate.

Since December 2022, the Houses of the Oireachtas has been working with AsIAm, Ireland’s Autism Charity to make the Leinster House complex more accessible for autistic people. In December 2023 the Houses of the Oireachtas achieved AsIAm autism-friendly accreditation for the Leinster House Complex, making it the world’s first autism-friendly parliament.

At the event today, the Ceann Comhairle said:

“Our aspiration from today is that every person who walks through the gates of Leinster House, this includes all members of the Parliamentary community and visitors, feel confident that they are supported and valued by all who work here. It is right that the Houses of the Oireachtas – our national parliament – is now leading the way in promoting an autism-friendly approach to our public buildings”.

To achieve this accreditation the Houses of the Oireachtas worked with AsIAm on the following measures:

Since May 2023, over one thousand members of the parliamentary community have completed Understanding Autism training, delivered by AsIAm.

Today, a dedicated autism-friendly webpage was launched. Resources available on the webpage include:

· a video and visitor guides outlining what people can expect during a visit to Leinster House,

· information about the sensory supports available including sensory maps and sensory support kits, and

· a charter of inclusion which sets out the Houses of the Oireachtas’ standards for supporting the autism community.

This is a positive step towards making the physical and sensory environment of the Leinster House complex accessible to all. At the event

today, Peter Finnegan, Clerk of the Dáil and Secretary General of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service, said:

“This is a marvellous achievement and I sincerely hope we will continue to build on this accomplishment”.

The Houses of the Oireachtas will continue to work with AsIAm on this journey. The measures put in place are subject to AsIAm annual accreditation. AsIAm will measure our progress and will continue to help us identify further steps we can take to support the autism community.

The Houses of the Oireachtas looks forward to welcoming all visitors during 2024 and beyond. We will continue to work on improving measures to make Leinster House a more open and accessible Parliament for all.

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