How to show your support this World Autism Day
Today, Friday April 2 is World Autism Day, which is why Ireland’s national autism charity AsIAm are asking the people of Ireland to help raise vital funds to allow them to expand their services and meet the rapidly growing needs from families as a result of Covid-19. People can donate on its website asiam.ie/donate
Over the last year, AsIAm have seen a staggering increase of 280% in queries to the service from families looking for support and guidance, and today’s donations will help AsIAm to provide these services, as well as to expand new programmes to support autistic people and their families. The funds will also be able to help prepare autistic people for life post pandemic and reconnecting with the community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for AsIAm to fundraise the vital funds required to continue helping families across the country. The success of the April appeal is crucial to the future operations and abilities in providing much needed services for the autism community in Ireland.
Over the last year, the services provided include direct support, guidance and advocacy to over 1,000 families, information about autism to over 12,000 people through AsIAm-SuperValu Community Support Webinars and supporting over 20,000 families to manage the return to the classroom with the “Bridge Back to School Resource”. In addition, AsIAm has worked to educate the government and communities on the needs of autistic people during the pandemic and advocated for reasonable supports to be provided.
AsIAm is a vital charity and it is dedicated to supporting its community. 1 in 65 Irish people are autistic. Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition which relates to how a person communicates, interacts and experiences the world around them. Autism is a spectrum – some people have high support needs throughout their lives while others can live independently with the right support.
Over 50% experience bullying in education, 85% experience unemployment and 8 in 10 experience a mental health condition during the course of their lives, much of these issues are a result of social exclusion. COVID-19 has been really challenging for autistic people – the loss of routine, the closure of support services and the anxiety inducing news cycle has taken a severe toll.
Commenting on the campaign CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris said, “World Autism Month is an important milestone which aims to create understanding and acceptance so we can have a more inclusive society. We know that many autistic people and their families are experiencing major challenges due to COVID-19 particularly in relation to the loss of routine and structure and the closure of essential services has had a long-term impact.”
“Our community will need significant support to come through this period and re-connect with day-to-day routines. In recent years, the Irish public has become more aware of autism but really awareness is only a start. Autistic people can thrive in communities which truly understand and accept autism and autistic people and that is what we are asking the public to learn about and support this April. Much of how the world works is not accessible for autistic people so COVID-19 provides an opportunity for us all to build back in a more inclusive way”
As part of this month’s campaign, AsIAm is asking the public to donate on asiam.ie/donate and share #AutismMonthSayYes on social channels. In addition, people can help raise awareness and develop their understanding of autism by picking up a “Say Yes to Autism Acceptance” Guide in their local Supervalu store around Ireland and make a pledge to take on a step to be more accepting of autistic people in their community.