By Maureen Breslin
Galway Autism Partnership (GAP) is running ten events for the month of April under the hashtag #youauttaknow. The online events seek to raise awareness about autism and debunk misconceptions about the developmental disorder.
The month of April is World Autism Month which brings a special opportunity to discuss the significance of autism acceptance.
The coordinator for GAP, Aisling Colreavy, has spoken on the importance of supporting autistic people in Galway and how she believes GAP is important to the Galway Community.
“GAP was started in 2011 around a kitchen table by a group of autistic adults and parents of autistic children. It was created for autistic people by autistic people, and I think that is something that makes GAP special and really important,” Ms Colreavy explains.
GAP is a community-based charity that holds many events all throughout the year to create an inclusive and uplifting environment for autistic people in Galway to improve their quality of life.
There are social and special interest clubs, summer and holiday camps, Q&A support groups on a one-to-one basis, webinars, information sessions, community education in schools and workplaces to advocate for autism-friendly spaces, and mental health therapy, which has become critical during the pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, most events through GAP have been forced online, including the campaign #youauttaknow.
“We’re fortunate that we have been able to adapt our services online instead of having to cancel them, but it still has been very difficult,” said Ms Colreavy. “This year has been challenging for all of us, especially socially. When you add on the challenges autistic people face in social settings, it is important to be mindful of those who are not neurotypical.”
Despite the challenging year that has forced activities and events online, GAP was still able to have some in person awareness this April for Autism Acceptance Month. Earlier this month, the Quad Building at NUIG was lit up gold in support of GAP and World Autism Acceptance Day.
Find out more about supporting Galway Autism Partnership and promoting autism acceptance at galwayautismpartnership.com.
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