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Gearoid Mannion

“step into the shoes” of young people with Autism


A national and local Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) support group have united to help people “step into the shoes” of young people with this condition.

AsIam and Ennis Voices for Autism (EVA) are delighted to invite people to AsIam’s new Youthhub – “The Autism Experience” exhibition in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis on Thursday, October 20 from up to to 8pm and Friday, October 21 from 10am to 3pm.

This unique free pop up exhibition will help people to understand what it would be like if they could not read or see words clearly or could not understand what people are saying because they couldn’t comprehend their language.

Supported by the Department of Justice, it will simulate an experience of what is like not being able to hear directions because a person can only hear all the surrounding noise and can’t communicate using their voice.

It will show what is like to be hungry but not wanting to eat because the texture or smell of food is so unpleasant or feeling marginalised and misunderstood in the world.

Adam Harris of AsIam, who designed the exhibition, explained people will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to have ASD using interactive technology.

“People can go around and get a practical down to earth understanding of ASD with the help of a fun activity.

“Grandparents have attended previous exhibitions to help them understand their grandchildren with ASD.

“The idea of the exhibition is not to be a local attraction, rather it is hoped that it will act as catalyst in local communities – engaging young people from different backgrounds and clubs into thinking about their role in building a more inclusive society for young people with Autism.

“While many people have heard the word autism, very few truly understand it and fewer still have a sense of what it is actually like to face the challenges those with Autism experience.

“This exhibition is presented in a question and answer format which makes it accessible and engaging for visitors and includes an audio guide and a range of activities to enable visitors to “step into the shoes” of someone with the condition,” he explained.

“Becoming an adult and starting out in life can be hard for everyone but for people with Autism, who can find change difficult, it can be especially tough. It can also be tougher when people don’t understand the condition and so don’t include people with the condition in school, college, the workplace and the community,” he added.

Groups from schools, youth clubs, adult services and clubs, businesses, seniors groups are all very welcome.
If anyone wants to bring a group of more than six, it is advisable to book a slot on the day by logging on to AsIam.ie. EVA secretary, Gearoid Mannion said the group is delighted to assist AsIAm with the hosting of this very interesting pop-up exhibition.

“One of EVA’s objectives is to promote an awareness of what autism means. This exhibition is aimed particularly at young people (aged 16-22) and will give them an insight into what it is like to live with autism.
“When they understand more, I believe they will be better able to engage with those who have Autism. It will help them, to communicate better with them, and to get to know them better.
“When people get to know someone with autism, they are often pleasantly surprised to find that they have a good sense of fun. Understanding this inevitably leads to interactions that are rewarding for both sides.
“These good interactions and relationships help to avert the isolation which people with Autism sometimes experience,” he said.
Ennis Voices for Autism (EVA) is a support group for parents of children with Autism and organise networking opportunities of parents and children, as well as occasional guest speakers and other events.
Membership is free and members are not asked to fund raise. For more information, contact Gearoid Mannion on 086 8120055 or gm@tmt.ie


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