Neurodiversity Sandymount Launch Event
Wed, 30 Mar 2022, 7pm | Lansdowne FC, 4 Lansdowne Rd
We launched Neurodiversity Sandymount on March 30th, taking the first step in making our village stand out as a community that cherishes all its children equally. At our launch event, our guest speakers highlighted the many wonderful opportunities to make business, education, social and community activities inclusive for all.
Head Coach, Leinster Rugby
Leo Cullen is head coach of Leinster Rugby and the only person to have won four Heineken European Cups, three as captain and one as coach of the Irish province. He also won 32 Ireland caps and has won numerous other honours and trophies. Leo lives in Sandymount with his wife Dairine and children.
Clinical Director, The Childrens Clinic
Davida is Clinical Director and Principal Psychologist at The Adult Autism Practice specialising in strengths based, neurodiversity affirmative collaborative remote adult autism diagnostic assessments. The team at The Adult Autism Practice is a proud #ActuallyAutistic and Neurotypical mix of professionals.
Adam Harris is the Founder and CEO of AsIAm, Ireland's National Autism Charity. Adam founded the organisation based on his own experiences growing up on the autism spectrum.
Deputy Principal, Grace Park ETNS
Deputy Principal of Grace Park ETNS, Liana has been working with children with additional needs since 2007. She currently runs an Autism Teacher Support network, connecting over 100 teachers nationwide and has set up a parent/guardian support group called Embrace Autism.
Vice President, AIG
Founder and co-chair of a disabilities and Allies employee resource group in AIG Irish office and a huge advocate of a more diverse and inclusive work place, Gemma strives to make a lasting change to our culture and society to help provide equal opportunities for everyone, particularly for those with disabilities.
Neurodiversity Sandymount aims to create Ireland’s most neurodiverse-friendly environment
New community group partners with national autism charity AslAm to raise awareness of challenges facing neurodivergent people
Local people and businesses encouraged to advocate for greater inclusivity by displaying Neurodiversity Sandymount symbol: ‘A friend to everyone’
Funding and training available for businesses that wish to support neurodiversity inclusivity
30th March 2022 - A new community group has been established with the aim of positioning the seaside village of Sandymount as a national leader in becoming neurodiversity-friendly. Founded by a group of parents of autistic children and those with other neurodivergent profiles, Neurodiversity Sandymount has partnered with AslAm, the national autism charity, to help create an environment where ‘different brains and unique thinkers’ are welcomed.
“Neurodiversity” is a concept which encourages the world to view neurodevelopmental differences like autism, ADHD and intellectual disability as brain differences, rather than deficits that need to be ‘fixed’. Neurodivergent people experience and interact with the world in a different way. According to Neurodiversity Sandymount, embracing these different brains and their qualities and strengths can benefit the entire community.
“Sandymount is already a great example of inclusivity, with specialist autism classrooms in two local schools, Scoil Mhuire and Star of the Sea,” said Dairine Cullen, co-founder of Neurodiversity Sandymount, ahead of the launch of the new community group.
“Now we are asking the entire village to join us in making the small changes needed to ensure even more awareness and understanding for neurodiverse children and their families. The more support we get from people and businesses in the village, the bigger difference we can make to our children’s lives and to the entire Sandymount community.”
A number of high-profile local businesses have already pledged their support for the initiative including Tesco, the Sandymount Hotel, Mira Mira, Crudo and others.
Anne Rabbite TD and Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, who supports the initiative said: “I’d like to congratulate Neurodiversity Sandymount on their launch on Wednesday. I’ve seen first-hand the dedication of parents and supporters on the ground and their advocacy for better, more equitable services for children. With the inclusion of neurodivergent children at its heart, the voice of parents, guardians and children themselves is so important in ensuring all views are considered at all levels, whether in government, the HSE or its funded service providers.
“I very much welcome that the conversation around neurodiversity is spreading and strengthening. It contributes so much to the conversation about disability in all its forms, from health to education to employment to transport to housing, and so on. I know Sandymount has been to the fore in developing the village as a neurodiverse-friendly area and making it a more inclusive environment, and this hard work must be acknowledged.
“I look forward to seeing how Neurodiversity Sandymount continues to develop and contribute to the disability space and congratulate them again on their official launch.”
Symbol that shows you are ‘A friend to everyone’
Launched to coincide with World Autism Month (April), Neurodiversity Sandymount is organising a series of events and initiatives to raise awareness and help people to understand the challenges and needs of neurodivergent people. The group has created a symbol representing the concept of being ‘A friend to everyone’ that can be displayed in local businesses and worn by neurodivergent children and their families to signal to others that extra compassion and understanding may be needed.
“Recognition of the Neurodiversity Sandymount symbol might mean an autistic person, or someone with ADHD or other disability will be allowed to skip the queue in a busy shop or environment that might be stressful for that person” says Dairine Cullen. “The symbol is also an opportunity for individuals and businesses in Sandymount to advocate for a more inclusive environment for neurodivergent people, for example supporting schools to create more specialist autism classrooms.”
The group is also working to make it easier for people and especially families to have positive and inclusive conversations about autism and neurodivergence. Neurodiversity Sandymount has created a story called ‘Let’s be a friend to everyone’ that can be read by parents and children together to promote greater understanding of how neurodivergent children can behave, react and interpret different situations.
Neurodiversity Sandymount has teamed up with Railway Union Sports Club to establish ‘Football for All’ in conjunction with the FAI and with PlayActDrama School to provide inclusive classes and will aim to provide sporting and cultural activities for neurodivergent children who presently have little or no access to social or community infrastructure.
At its launch event, Neurodiversity Sandymount will outline a range of grants and funding available for businesses who wish to support the neurodiverse community. The group is also offering specialist education and training to those businesses, schools and community groups wishing to achieve greater inclusivity. Details are available at www.neurodiversityireland.com
World Autism Awareness Day takes place on 2 April, as part of World Autism Month