Cllr Vicki Casserly, with Guest speakers, Frances Fitzgerald TD and Adam Harris of AsIAm.ie held a public meeting to progress Make Lucan Autism Friendly. It was an absolute pleasure to have so many in attendance, particularly our very special Guest, Adam Harris of AsIAm.ie and Aisling Foran who played an integral part in making Clonalkilty Autism Friendly.

Cllr Casserly commented “Over my term as an elected Councillor, this is something close to my heart for a number of reasons and it is something I am keen to progress. South Dublin County Council have been forward thinking in their approach when I have come to them seeking programmes and additional awareness for all those in our community. All of these initiatives I proposed where based off Universal Design which places human diversity at the heart of the design process so that buildings and environments can be designed to meet the needs of all users. It covers all persons regardless of their age or size and those who have particular physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual ability or disability. It is about achieving good design so that people can access, use and understand the environment to the greatest extent and in the most independent and natural manner possible, without the need for adaptations or specialised solutions. It is good practice to ascertain the needs of the range of expected users as early as possible”.

Through Cllr. Casserly’s proposals, Autism Friendly Events have taken place in Lucan Library, which has and will extend across the county, they have had fun events with South Dublin on Ice, developments in playgrounds to meet sensory needs and adventure. Not forgetting the fantastic Parent Led groups out there such as the Elementals, Lucan Autism Network, Social Circle, Gladiators, Esker Celtic Football for All Programmes, Lucan Sarsfields GAA for all and many more advocacy groups encouraging full participation in the communities.

Frances Fitzgerald joined on the night, she is deeply passionate about inclusion and awareness and has worked closely with her husband Professor Michael Fitzgerald, to make greater improvements throughout our communities through advocating for equality and early intervention and the importance of support and acceptance. Adam and Aisling, needed no real introduction, they are a force to be reckoned with. Strong advocates for social change and pushing us as a society to recognise and be aware of those around us.

They joined to speak about how they made Clonalkility Autism Friendly. The Lucan Cllr added, “This is something I envisage for Lucan. Supervalu Lucan are onboard with their Sensory Friendly Evenings and availability of Alf Trollies. I would like to see South Dublin County Council, Local businesses, voluntary organisations and educators come on board, train and engage to be accredited Autism Friendly Champions. I look forward to working with a committee going forward to achieve this for our community. Should you wish to be involved please feel free to get in touch at vcasserly@cllrs.sdublincoco.ie “

Frances commented “The European Parliament has been a keen promoter of the rights of people living with Autism. I hope to put pressure on the Commission and Council in the next mandate to be more proactive on this very important social and inclusive issue”