b'AS I AMA TEAM FOR GUIDANCE AND SUPPORTTHANKS TO THE IRELAND FUNDS5 years on I am really excited about the progressInpartnershipwithSuperValu,IrelandsleadingWe have been incredibly lucky to be supported by which we are making. We are now a team of 12 staffretailer,wehaverolledautism-friendlyshoppingTheIrelandFundsfromdayoneofthisjourney. members,halfofusbeingautisticourselves,ablytimes out across the country and supported Clon- We were not long-established when our Secondary supported and guided by an experienced, voluntaryakilty in becoming the countrys first autism-friendlySchool Program, which aims to address bullying of Board of Directors. Our Community Support Teamtown.InClonakilty,over100organizationshaveautistic students through peer education, received a provides guidance and support to autistic people andundertaken training and put in place accessibility mea- grant from The Ireland Funds Small Grant Round of families who contact usthis ranges from basic sign- sures for autistic community members addressing the3,000 in 2014. This enabled us to develop and pilot posting through to making complex representationsmain barriers to inclusion for autistic people such asthe program, which has now been delivered in well to government bodies. In addition, it provides a rangecommunication, predictability and control, sensoryover 100 schools across the country. of training, support and information to autistic peopleprocessing, judgement and attitudes. Creating an Autism-Friendly University requires and family members on managing the challenges thatThis year we will support a further nine towns insignificant investment and from the day I explained go with the condition and effectively advocating formaking this commitment. This initiative, also knownthe concept to The Ireland Funds team they under-yourself.as the Clonakilty Commitment, follows a series ofstood its importance in terms of providing opportuni-Onthepolicyfront,wehaveledeffortstoprinciples aimed at fostering autism inclusion andties for adults and ultimately reducing unemployment secure a National Autism Strategy for Ireland andempowerment in local committees.in the autism community, the team proactively sought holding government to account in terms of providingsupport from the initiative and has secured 300,000 These are:equality of opportunity for our community. As the onlyThese are: to date.National Charity undertaking this type of supportUnderstandable staff training It has been a true privilege to be invited to many role, there is a real need for us to grow our team inEnvironmental evaluation Ireland Funds events in both Ireland and the United this area over the coming years to ensure that everyAssistance dog-friendlyStates and to meet so many amazing members of The family is adequately supported and the voice of theA commitment to enact at least one changeIreland Funds family. It is truly special knowing that community heard at a national level. in the community there is a network of people around the world who want to support work such as ours and many have UNIQUE INITIATIVES FOR IRELANDWhilst lotslots hashas beenbeen achievachieveded therethere is soso muchmuch moremoredemonstrated this proactively to us with generous WhilstOurTrainingandBusinessAdvisoryTeamhastodo.WepassionatelybelieveIrelandhasstrongpersonal donations towards supporting our informa-ledoutonsomehighlyuniqueinitiativesaroundcommunities who, with the right support, can help ustion and training services. creating an autism-friendly society. The team operatemake our country the the most accessible and inclu-a range of programs which start in early years set- sive place in the world for the autism community. TheI want to thank all donors for the work you do tings and work their way up to supporting employers,small size of Ireland has allowed us to innovate and gardai and businesses in supporting autistic membersdevelop programs which we believe can be brought toand all your support to date. AsIAm could not of the public using their services and opportunities.other jurisdictions over time. Our ultimate goal is tohavetheimpactwedowithoutthehelpof We were proud to support Dublin City Universitybe redundant and that will be achieved when we canThe Ireland Funds.(DCU) in becoming the Worlds first Autism-Friendlysafely say every autistic person born in Ireland has University, and we are now rolling this initiative outthe opportunity to reach their own personal potential, across Ireland and indeed globally with the first USwhatever that may look like, and fully participate in universities expected to be accredited by 2020.every aspect of Irish life.connect 201942'