Say Yes to Autism Acceptance – that’s the plea from SuperValu & AsIAm.
At least one in 65 people in Ireland are autistic and nearly 300,000 people have an immediate family member on the autism spectrum.
Today (Friday, 2nd April) is World Autism Day and around it, there’s a month-long focus on raising awareness.
As part of that, with many being used to hearing ‘no’ in various aspects of their lives, the Irish retail giant and national charity have teamed up for a new campaign to encourage people to instead say ‘Yes’ to those with autism; Yes to employment, Yes to education and Yes to community inclusion.
Carlow retailer Tommy Hickson, who operates a SuperValu in Tullow, is among those involved and he’s been telling KCLR News “Over the last five years we have worked very hard with AsIAm to make our communities more autism-friendly and inclusive, this initiative is using autism-friendly shopping, autism-friendly communities and community support webinars”.
He adds “For this month in our SuperValu and all SuperValus across Carlow and Kilkenny and indeed across the country we’re saying Yes to autism acceptance and we have a guide that will be available for all customers to pick up, inside this guide, there are ten ways to say yes to autism acceptance so this includes being clear, being patient, reaching out, I mean for anyone to pick up one of these on your next visit to a SuperValu and this will help us bridge any gaps and help us understand how autistic people, the help that they need”.
As part of the campaign, AsIAm is asking the public to donate on asiam.ie/donate as queries to its service increase by 280% on the same period prior to the pandemic, and share #AutismMonthSayYes on social channels.
Commenting on the campaign CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris said, “As we look to the future and as we emerge from this awful pandemic we do not want to go back to the “old normal”, rather we want a brighter, more inclusive society which is fair to autistic people. Many people in our community are used to being told no from a very young age – no you can’t make friends, no we can’t provide you with the support you need and no, you can’t get a job. Since COIVD-19, we have all looked at how we can do things differently, and we should look at how people with autism are treated. We have an amazing opportunity to create a society that is not merely aware of autism but rather truly accepts autistic people – valuing our contribution, meeting our needs, and working together.
10 ways you can help to say Yes to Autism Acceptance:
- Being clear
- Being patient
- Reaching out
- Being aware of the sensory environment
- Fill in the gaps
- Being accepting
- Watch your language
- Challenge stigma and bullying
- Listening and learning
- Seeing our abilities
Meanwhile, read what one Kilkenny boy has been doing to mark Autism Awareness Month here