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Re: - [GAP-members] ASIAM ENNIS MEETING JAN 20TH 15-22 year olds



Calling all young people with autism and their friends and families – let’s break the stigma!
Autism in children is quite well known now, but the fact that children grow into teenagers and adults with interests and ambitions is sometimes forgotten. There can be stigma attached and people can be hesitant discussing their own or a family member’s autism in the community. This may prevent them asking for supports that could make their lives easier. It can also deter autistic people from offering their talents locally –particularly in areas such as honesty, knowledge about their interests, reliability, logical mind, seeing different perspectives.
When people fear discussing something, then it is clear that public understanding must be enhanced. Where a condition is both invisible and often without a voice or recognition this makes the challenge of creating awareness all the more important.

AsIAm is a national hub for information related to autism. Recently AsIAm received funding to create a Youth Awareness Campaign to educate people aged 15-22 to have a better understanding of the condition nationally. Ennis Voices for Autism (EVA) has been chosen as a centre for this activity in the west of Ireland. The aim is to bring the campaign to young people in their local community settings, to develop an increased understanding of and respect for the condition. This should lead to improved social lives, better access to extra-curricular activities, university life and employment prospects for young people with autism.

The way the campaign operates locally is to be developed directly by young people with and without autism in a manner which connects with them and in places where they are most comfortable. Life can present difficulties for any teenager: with autism there may be additional issues associated with becoming self-aware, feeling different from your peers, acting differently in ways that could be isolating, preferring to mix via an interest rather than social chatting. Peers could play an enormous role here with awareness and understanding. This could lessen incidences of bullying, isolation and self-harm which are realities for too many people with autism.

Adam Harris, a young man with autism, acknowledged by the president, Michael D. Higgins, and known for his appearances on The Late Late Show, Brendan O’Connor Show and Ted X will visit Ennis to discuss how to develop the campaign in the mid-west. He will host a public meeting in the Templegate Hotel, next Wednesday 20th January at 7pm. All young people with autism (age 15-22) and their families and friends are welcome to attend.

We will gather experiences about growing up with autism, what peer attitudes are like currently, and what other young people need to know. Community barriers to participation and how to remove them will also be considered.

While the nature of this meeting will suit autistic people who can handle being in a group, and who can express their ideas by talking, writing or with their bodies, or those who have someone who can speak for them, we wish to include all young people in this age bracket. If there are sensory needs we need to know about for the evening please get in touch.

For further queries please contact [email protected] or ring Joan at 086 1021578.
We look forward to seeing you ​there.​


All the best
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