AsIAm and SuperValu were proud to partner with the community of Clonakilty in creating Ireland’s first ever autism-friendly town. We were delighted with the positive response to this pilot project and would like to invite interested communities right across the country to achieve their own autism-friendly accredited status.
This initiative, also known as the Clonakilty Commitment, follows a series of principles aimed at fostering autism inclusion and empowerment in local committees. These are:
- Understandable staff training;
- Environmental evaluation;
- Assistance dog-friendly and;
- A commitment to enact at least one change in the community.
In following these principles, it is important that interested communities understand the purpose behind them. This involves an awareness of the main barriers to inclusion for autistic people, including:
- Predictability and control;
- Sensory processing and;
- Judgement and attitudes.
AsIAm have developed a central framework to assist and guide applicants throughout this process. Included within this are a resource pack and training modules for different parts of the project, namely for planning meetings, producing materials and creating autism-friendly spaces. A Committee for each interested community will oversee the Commitment’s implementation within their respective area. Recruitment for the Committee’s membership will be facilitated by AsIAm, as well as additional training seminars on more advanced stages of the process.
An Autism-Friendly Towns Coordinator, funded by SuperValu, will play a key role in mentoring interested communities to achieve their accreditation. This role will guide each committee along the process and to ensure The Clonakilty Commitment principles are followed. This will be accessed through conference calls, one-to-one calls, webinars and additional supports when/if required. As part of the accreditation process the coordinator will make several visits to each town for public meetings, training events and adjudication.
Registration is free but, in order to fully implement a project of this nature, it is important to note that some costs may be incurred. Costs associating with this such as travel/accommodation expenses will be the responsibility of the committee. It is estimated that each visit will cost in the region of €500.
We invite you to connect with us through the application form, and we look forward to continuing the journey towards an autism-friendly Ireland with you.