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IAA partnered with DCU to produce the study autism counts the prevalence of autism in Ireland in 2013. The study found that 1 in 100 people in Ireland have a diagnosis of autism. Irish Autism Action are committed to being part of a solution to make things better for the autism community at large. Our Helpline continues to receive calls on a diverse range of issues, and plays a valuable role in guiding the people who call us for help.
Our Autism Friendly initiative continues to identify new partners, working in partnership with them to make Ireland, a society that understands Autism. In this regard, we admire the commitment made by Tayto Park in 2016. They have worked with us to train their staff and to create visual schedules to assist children with ASD to enjoy their wonderful facility. IAA also provide Autism ID membership cards which are designed to help families in difficult queuing scenarios, most notably Dublin Airport were the first to acknowledge this and created their own visual guides, with the support of IAA.
IAA is also receiving a growing list of requests from mainstream schools to assist their staff in working with children with ASD. We are engaging very positively with these schools as we recognise that by intervening early – we can prevent behavioural problems from becoming a cause for expulsion – as has all too often been the case in the past. Our National Advocacy work continues with government both at the cabinet and departmental levels, across a range of issues, most recently the announcement of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Bill 2017, which is Point 2 of our 5 Point Vision Plan. We also provide individual advocacy support to many families. IAA recognises the relative lack of pathway for people over the age of 18 – in both Adult Services and continuing education. With that in mind, the IAA team recently visited the Ambitious College in London which opened in 2014 for 16 – 25 year olds with complex autism where we learned that the skills required to run the college are all well developed in Ireland.