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Irish society not inclusive of those with autism

A new survey has found that 90% of autistic people do not believe they have the same chance as non-autistic people in Irish society.

The finding was contained in the annual Same Chance Report published today by the national autism charity, AsIAm.

It was released to coincide with World Autism Day and the start of World Autism Awareness Month.

The report documents the experience of over 1,700 autistic people, parents, family members and carers and the perceptions of 1,000 members of the public.

The Autism in Ireland survey covered a range of topics including education, healthcare, housing, life in the community, safety and the cost of living.

It found that one-in-four parents of autistic children said they do not have a school place that meets their needs.

While almost a third of the parents surveyed said their child is on a reduced school timetable without their consent.

Just over half (51%) of autistic people do not believe the education system is inclusive.

Seven-in-ten do not believe the healthcare system is inclusive, while 36% believe they have experienced discrimination in the past 12 months.

Eighty-six of the respondents said autism is a barrier to being accepted by, and forming friendships with others, while 38% said they felt lonely, either all of the time or some of the time.

AsIAm said the survey findings also highlighted the contradictions between the public’s aspirations for inclusion in Irish society and the lived experience.

While the majority (80%) of the public believe that life should be inclusive, 57% feel that if someone can’t sit still or stay quiet in the cinema or theatre, they should not go.

48% would feel a bit uncomfortable if they saw an adult pacing or rocking back and forth in a public place.

Nearly 60% of the 1,000 members of the public surveyed reported that they would feel uncomfortable interacting with someone who avoided eye contact.

Members of the AsIAm Youth Leadership Panel today held a special meeting with the the Ombudsman for Children, Niall Muldoon.

They used the special meeting to highlight the challenges autistic young people face in every day life.

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