‘Think autism’: shops, cinemas and other places where all children are valued

When members of an autism support group saw that the Ombudsman for Children’s Office was advertising a free family event in Dublin in November, they thought it would make an enjoyable Saturday outing.

But the OCO Universal Children’s Day Event didn’t quite live up to its inclusive-sounding title. On checking in advance that it was going to be autism-friendly, Wicklow Triple A Alliance was disappointed to be told it wasn’t.

“I kind of assumed it would be,” says one member of the group, who has a seven-year-old son with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

It’s not difficult to make autism-friendly arrangements, she explains – such as having a quiet room, putting up photographs and descriptive text online to help parents show children what to expect, and, perhaps, allowing them in early so they get a chance to settle before the crowds arrive.

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12th December 2017
Irish Times