The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Children, Equality, Disability and Integration, Anne Rabbitte has today joined with AsIAm, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and transport operators to launch a new initiative entitled “Prepare Me AsIAm for Public Transport”.
Ireland’s National Autism Charity, AsIAm supports the Autistic community and their families to have the same chance to fully engage in Irish life and to build the capacity of society to facilitate true inclusion.
One in 65 people in Ireland are autistic and AsIAm often uses the analogy of a crowded train station in a foreign country to portray how life can feel for many autistic people. With a series of unfamiliar sounds, smells and incomprehensible directions, it would be easy for anyone to become overwhelmed.
Prepare Me AsIAm for Public Transport is an innovative social enterprise, creating multi-media resources to help build predictability, familiarity and peace-of-mind for autistic people, and to reassure families and supporters while preparing for a journey on the country’s expanding public transport network.
Anne Rabbitte, Minister of State at the Department of Health, Children, Equality, Disability and Integration said: “The Prepare Me AsIAm for Public Transport initiative is a vitally important awareness campaign for all of us, but particularly for the autistic community and their families. As Minister, I am proud to see the creation of this innovative campaign using multi-media to give autistic people peace of mind as they use our public transport network.
“Most of us take the bus, train or tram on a daily basis for work, leisure or to attend appointments and I want to ensure that the autistic community is supported and reassured to regularly use public transport, and this initiative will allow them to build their confidence to do so.”
Fiona Ferris, Deputy CEO & Head of Training at AsIAm – Ireland’s National Autism Charity said: “We are delighted to have collaborated with the NTA to create this crucially important initiative for our community. Our transport system is what connects so many aspects of our daily life, yet for many autistic people and their families, it can be an incredibly overwhelming experience.
“Through the creation of multi-media preparatory materials and resources for using the public transport system, another step will be taken towards affording our community with the same chance to fully engage in Irish society. We look forward to continuing to work with the NTA to make services as accessible and inclusive as possible.”
Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA said: “The NTA is proud to support the Prepare Me for Public Transport initiative. We are continuing to reach milestones with our public transport network with record numbers of passengers returning to buses, trains and trams around the country.
“Our public transport network is constantly expanding and we want to ensure all modes of public transport are inviting, inclusive and as accessible as possible to all who wish to use them.”