This week we have a very special blog from Liz in our North Dublin MABS Swords Office. She is a big contributor to our blogs and came to us with this blog about Autism Awareness.
Liz originally wrote this as a contribution to a newsletter, in recognition of her own gorgeous little man Eli, for World Autism Awareness Day 2022 (April 2nd). It’s not something we’ve talked about before, but it affects many of our clients and our own lives. So it seemed appropriate to use this as a starting point.
Every year, April is celebrated as Autism Awareness & Acceptance month. Traditionally, it was a time used to spread awareness of autism. In recent years, the shift has moved towards acceptance and more importantly, inclusion. It is a time for autistic advocates, families, support groups, both local and national, public bodies and many more to highlight the ongoing issues that autistic children and adults face.
AsIam (As I am) recently published a report entitled ‘The Same Chance’.
The Same Chance
This research captured the publics’ opinions and perceptions of autism. The main findings included:
- Only 4 in 10 Irish people claim to have a ‘good’ understanding of autism
- 6 in 10 people associate negative connotations with autism
- Only 6 in 10 people believe autistic children should attend the same school as non-autistic children
Additionally, autistic people were interviewed and some of the findings were as follows:
- 54% of autistic people confirmed they have experienced discrimination
- 71% believe the Government does not take a coordinated approach
- 10% of autistic people believe the workplace is inclusive
From a MABS perspective, many families who access our services have young and adult children on the spectrum. Accessing all the financial supports that are available are key for many of these clients. Many parents have to give up full time work to care for their children and have to pay for many therapies and holistic supports from very limited resources.
There can be an information gap for many parents who have recently received a diagnosis for their child. In my own experience, parents I have met over the years did not know about certain supports. For example, the incapacitated child tax credit, and how to go about accessing them.
MABS can play a key role in this area, income maximisation is one of the main steps on the money advice process.
The Citizens Information website is a wealth of knowledge and a fantastic starting point for people who are just starting on the Autistic journey with their child:
There may be other supplementary allowances available to you depending on your individual circumstances.
While these benefits go some way in supporting people, they can often be not enough. Disposable incomes can drop drastically, even with social welfare income supports. At MABS, we can help you ensure that you are maximising your income, help you put a budget plan in place, or help you adjust your current budget.
For those who are interested in finding out more information about Autism, the below sites can offer different insights:
AsIam – About – AsIAm.ie
Irish Society for Autism – Home Page – Irish Society for Autism
Eileen Lamb – The Autism Cafe – Autism Mom Blog
Kieran Rose – The Autistic Advocate – Autistic People Have a Voice
Nonspeaking Autism (Nonverbal Autism): Symptoms & More (healthline.com)
Stimming: Why It Happens and How to Manage It (healthline.com)