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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Clonakilty celebrates two years of being Ireland’s first autism-friendly town

by Erin Lindsay
22nd Oct 2020

The town now acts as a benchmark across Ireland for autism-friendly businesses and services

This month, Clonakilty in Co. Cork will celebrate two years since it became Ireland’s first autism-friendly town.

In 2018, Clonakilty, through a partnership with AsIAm and SuperValu, became the country’s first autism-friendly town, an initiative that includes accrediting certain local businesses as Autism Friendly Champions, meaning they have followed autism-friendly staff training, are service dog friendly and host a sensory activity that is beneficial to customers or visitors with autism.

Clonakilty has seen local businesses, organisations, sports clubs, schools and community groups throughout the town complete autism-friendly training, in an effort to “create a greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism so that our communities become more accessible and enjoyable places for autistics of all ages.  people to live in.”

SuperValu retailers and Clonakilty locals Catriona & Eoghan Scally said: “We are incredibly proud of our entire town, particularly the Clonakilty Autism-Friendly Town Committee who have collectively worked to reach and sustain our position as an Autism Friendly town. We are delighted to be a part of a committee which includes autistic voices and local bodies representing everyone from sports clubs, schools to retail and to celebrate this anniversary with this valuable webinar. We hope it not only marks the occasion but helps other communities across Ireland navigate this challenging time.”

Navigating Covid-19

This month, the town will celebrate its anniversary with a free online webinar, entitled “Navigating COVID-19 in an Autism Friendly Way”. The webinar, hosted by AsIAm and SuperValu, will chat to U.S-based author and Wall Street Journal bestseller Jennifer Cook and will discuss ideas, tools and tips on navigating Covid-19 for those with autism (and even those without).

Cook is best known for her six award-winning Asperkids books and her best-selling memoir Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum which was named one of the ‘Best Autism Books of All Time’Jennifer’s three children have Asperger Syndrome and Jennifer herself was subsequently diagnosed as an adult.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday 28th October at 7.30 pm via Zoom. Anyone interested in tuning in can register here.


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