THIS month Clonakilty is celebrating three years of being Ireland’s first autism-friendly town.
In October 2018, the town, through the partnership with AsIAm and SuperValu alongside local retailers Eugene and Catriona Scally of Scally’s SuperValu, became Ireland’s first ever autism friendly town.
To mark the occasion the Clonakilty Autism Friendly Town Committee, AsIAm and SuperValu recently hosted a screening of the documentary, The Reason I Jump, followed by a question session with international best-selling Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell, who translated the memoir by Naoki Higashida which the documentary is based on.
David also featured in the award-winning documentary, which challenges stereotypes about autism.
Clonakilty’s journey to becoming an Autism-Friendly town saw businesses, organisations, sports clubs, schools and community groups throughout the town undergo training and organisational changes to becoming autism friendly.
The initiative and accreditation were a first for anywhere in Ireland and Clonakilty now acts as a benchmark for communities across Ireland.
The aim of the initiative was to create a greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism so that communities become more accessible and enjoyable places for autistic people of all ages.
AsIAm, together with the committee, have also established the Clonakilty Autism Academy to train community champions on how to make their organisations autism-friendly.
‘It’s great to see Clonakilty host this special anniversary event after such a challenging period,’ said Adam Harris of AsIAm. ‘I’m delighted that the people of Clonakilty have had the opportunity to view the documentary and hear from David Mitchell and his experiences translating the memoir and working on the documentary itself. Clonakilty is a truly inclusive community.’
The Clonakilty committee can be contacted at [email protected].