Will Clane become an autism friendly town?

Plan

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

Will Clane become an autism friendly town?

Louise and Joanne Cullen

A charity supporting those with autism and headed up by the brother of Minister for Health, Adam Harris, has said that Clane would be a good town to create an autism friendly plan.

Already some businesses in Clane support those who have autism by allotting certain times of the week to change light and noise levels.

One such business is Supervalu.

Speaking at a very well attended meeting in the Westgrove Hotel last Thursday night, November 1 Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm, said that people with the autism condition will not change.

But the environment around them can change.

The meeting, hosted by Rob Mahon, and Clane Community Council, was attended by over 200 people.

Among them was Louise Cullen O’Connor who has set up a Clane Autism Aware support group.

Adam Harris, wearing colourful socks without shoes, spoke of his own experience in his supportive family in Greystones.

He was diagnosed with autism at the age of five.

He spoke about the truths and myths of the condition which may make autistic people appear “weird” to “normal” people who don’t know much about it. Adam said there are positive sides to autism as well as negative ones.

The group (www.AsIam.ie) wants to increase awareness and Adam spoke of the creation of an autism friendly town in Clonakilty, where 91 organisations have signed up to help those with autism and create awareness of it.

Around 15 other towns have expressed an interest.

For Clane to achieve the “autism friendly” label, it will have to engage with a quarter of the population in the town.