AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, developed the initiative with support from KBC Bank Ireland
AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, has today announced the launch of a new suite of pilot advice clinics to support autistic people and family members to navigate their own diagnosis, build capacity for managing wellbeing and secure rights and entitlements through the legal system.
AsIAm has actively sought to expand its services in response to the emerging and unmet needs on the ground. These new pilot advice clinics, which have been made possible with support from KBC Bank Ireland, will be divided into three strands:
Post-Diagnosis – Supporting families and autistic adults starting out on their autism journey through a four-week support programme, delivered by autistic clinical professionals.
Wellbeing – Providing access to four sessions of group-based support for autistic teenagers and parents/guardians of autistic young people, facilitated by an accredited counselling psychologist.
Legal – Providing autistic people and families with a one-off legal consultation relating to concerns or queries around support and inclusion within Irish society.
At least 1 in 65 people in Ireland are autistic and whilst public awareness of autism has increased in recent years, there remains a severe shortage of appropriate services to support families in navigating life on the autism spectrum in Ireland. Last year, AsIAm published “Every Child Counts”, a report on the experiences of autistic children accessing health services that found that two-thirds of families waited over two years to access an autism assessment, with 4 in 5 not presently in receipt of any follow-on support services. For autistic adults, social isolation and unemployment remain a persistent reality with 85% of autistic people thought to be underemployed or unemployed and no public pathway for adult diagnosis within the HSE. COVID-19 has created specific barriers for the community with the loss of routine and structure, coupled with the closure or diversion of vital health and education support services, meaning many autistic people and families have experienced crisis.
Speaking on the launch of the new programme, Adam Harris, Founder-CEO of AsIAm said “We are so excited to launch this new and much-needed programme, supported by KBC Bank Ireland. Autistic people and our families face major barriers to inclusion in Irish life and yet too often support is simply not available. We believe our Advice Clinics will be an important resource for participants to build capacity at a critical time for the autism community”
Aidan Power, Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs KBC Bank Ireland said: “AsIAm Is Ireland’s National Autism Charity and as a partner to the charity we are delighted to be able to support the rollout of AsIAm’s new Advice Clinics. These clinics will provide autistic people and their families with a variety of supports and advice to help navigate diagnosis, and manage wellbeing. These pilot clinics are another step toward providing greater overall services and much needed supports on the ground to those who need it.”
Registration has now opened on asiam.ie for individuals and families who would like to express an interest in participating in the programme. It is intended to evaluate the impact of the offering over the course of 2022 with a view to expanding the range and scale of supports available through the AsIAm Advice Clinics Programme. Click here to express interest in one of the programmes.