Clane chosen for autism friendly town project

The town is to become one of the first autism-friendly towns in Ireland

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

Clane chosen for autism friendly town project

(l to r)Tess Cullen, Joanna Cullen, John Kennedy, Seamus O’Connor, Alan Condron, Karen Malin, Robert Mahon and Julie Dorel

Clane has been chosen to be part of a pioneering nationwide scheme that will see the village become one of the country’s first autism friendly towns.

The ‘AsIAm’ Autism Friendly Town initiative, comes after the hugely successful pilot project in Clonakilty, Cork last year.

Community groups will join ‘AsIAm’ and Condron’s Supervalu to help Clane become certified as Autism Friendly. The process kicked off last November when Adam Harris, CEO of ‘AsIAm, and brother of Minister Simon Harris, spoke to a local audience of 260 at the Westgrove Hotel.

“People registered their interest in the project in their droves,” said Louise Cullen, who is on the Clane Autism Friendly committee as a parent representative. This committee has been set up to undertake the actions.

Other members, parents or representing groups, are Tess Cullen representing local businesses, Joanna Cullen with the GAA, John Kennedy from Tidy Towns, Seamus O’Connor (parent), Alan Condron from SuperValu, Karen Malin representing the education sector, Robert Mahon from Clane Community Council, Julie Dorel from Musgraves and Samantha Buckmaster (parent) from Kildare Autism Network.

Louise said the aim is to foster a culture of autism empowerment and inclusion throughout the locality. “Key to this is developing an understanding of the main barriers to inclusion for autistic people. People will get trained and engagement will take place with local businesses to promote change.