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Maynooth Wins AsIAm Autism Friendly Town Award 2024

Maynooth Town is the latest community to achieve AsIAm Autism Friendly Town accreditation.

Maynooth Town took home the top award at the Autism Friendly Town Awards 2024. Held by AsIAm, Ireland’s Autism Charity, the award ceremony took place at the Aisling Hotel in Dublin, where Maynooth was celebrated as the top recipient, and five other communities were acknowledged with Special Recognition Awards.

The AsIAm Autism Friendly Town Awards is an annual event in which communities across Ireland are awarded for following a series of principles aimed at fostering Autism inclusion and empowerment in local communities.

Maynooth town achieved several set targets to earn accreditation as an AsIAm Autism Friendly Town, including recruiting and training Autism champions within the community, launching hang outs for Autistic adults, raising funds for a sensory garden, and running autism-friendly events, such as a sensory Santa experience and a quiet zone at the town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Speaking about the town’s win, Donna Phelan, Chairperson of Maynooth’s Autism Friendly Town Committee said: “From recruiting Autism champions to impactful changes in our local businesses, schools and public services, Maynooth town has made a number of positive changes to become a more inclusive and supportive environment for our Autistic community. We’re delighted this commitment has been recognised and honoured by AsIAm and we will continue to deliver on our plans in the years ahead.”

Adam Harris, CEO AsIAm, added:

“It’s great to see another town take such massive strides towards becoming a more inclusive and empowering community. The new principles adopted by Maynooth town will improve access for Autistic people in day-to-day life, create supporting and accepting environments within the community and promote local business and tourism.”

All towns awarded this week achieved several key targets set out by AsIAm, including embarking on a three-year charter inclusion plan, staff training and organising Autism friendly events, among other principles that support acceptance and participation of Autistic people in their towns.

In addition to Maynooth’s win, five other communities also received Special Recognition Awards during the ceremony. These are:

· Inclusive Club Award – NIRP Autism Friendly Town Committee

· Community Education Award – NIRP Autism Friendly Town Committee

· Inclusive Events Award – Castlebar Autism Friendly Town Committee

· Community Engagement Award – Sligo Autism Friendly Town Committee

· Sensory Accessibility Award – Lusk Autism Friendly Town Committee

· Innovative Campaign Award – Waterford Autism Friendly Town Committee

AsIAm Autism Friendly Town Awards criteria has been created in response to the barriers to inclusion faced by Autistic individuals in their local community, such as communication, predictability and control, sensory processing, and judgement.

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