Clare County Council has been awarded €78,500 under the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund (DPAF) 2021 to promote and implement the Autism Aware County Clare programme.
This multi-level, county-wide training programme will increase awareness of autism spectrum disorder in the wider community.
Given that one in every 65 children of school age has an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, this project has the potential to have a direct impact on a large number of individuals across County Clare.
Welcoming news of the funding, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr PJ Ryan, said, “by further encouraging participation in community life for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, this programme will also increase the confidence and comfort with which they and their families can engage with their county council, as well as their local businesses, sports clubs and community organisations.”
Dr Susan Crawford, Autism Spectrum Consultant with ‘Get Autism Active’, commented, “I am delighted to support the development and growth of the Autism Aware County Clare initiative by Clare County Council. This project will showcase amenities, businesses and community initiatives engaging and driving the agenda of autism awareness and understanding throughout the county. Clare and Ireland have the potential to be the autism hub of Europe, leading the way in best practice from research, policy and actual real life practice perspectives. All areas of community, sport, education, industry and hospitality can gain and be a part of something real and meaningful within the county, leading the way for the country.”
In addition to training, the funding will also facilitate the provision of sensory kits to participants and information and advice to community playground committees which will further reduce barriers to participation and increase confidence and engagement by individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families and friends.
Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, said, “we are delighted to receive this funding and we now envisage a county of communities who have completed this training, hold participation certificates and proudly display Autism Aware County Clare decals in their windows to increase visibility of the level of autism awareness across the county and across all sectors.”
The DPAF was announced in October 2021 by Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD, in the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
The purpose of DPAF 2021 is to support the participation of people with disabilities in local activities, remove barriers to community involvement and promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Source: Clare County Council