The IMPACT trade union says we need better early intervention for children with special needs.
The union has invited one of the world's most iconic scientists to Cork Institute of Technology today, to share her personal experiences of autism.
Professor Dr Temple Grandin was one of the first people on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her own personal experience of the condition.
IMPACT'S Barry Cunningham says she has changed the world for many people with her belief that autism is a gift and not a disability.
He said: "It's about investment as we see it, we obviously work with special needs assistants who work with children with special education needs.
"But this is more so about the parents, this is an overall educational experience for children and the more we invest in children at an early age, the more the economy will reap throughout the education system."