A leading charity will tonight launch an exhibition which will enable all people to experience what it is like for people with autism.
The pop-up exhibition from Autism charity AsIAm will shortly begin touring the country, and will use a “questions and answers” format as well as a series of activities to answer young people’s questions and enable visitors to step into the shoes of those with the condition.
This includes using sound, smells, touch and sight experiments to bring neurotypical (those without Autism) people into the world of those with the condition.
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“People with autism often experience a sense of being overwhelmed and confused by what others see as normal life, and this exhibition will allow those attending to understand this more than they have done before,” according to the CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris.
The exhibition aims to engage young people in particular and is being launched in the O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel in Dublin at 7 pm this evening by Gordon Hayden and Lauren Kelly of Spin FM and will “pop up” in Wicklow, Clare and the Midlands in the coming weeks, before being made available to groups and organisations around the country to host.
The first venue for the exhibition is Greystones, Co Wicklow where it will be shown at Hillside Evangelical Church for a week from June 27.
Venues around the country will be listed on the AsIAm website in the coming days.
Visitors are given an MP3 player which gives them an audio guide through 15 stages which allow them experience different aspects of life with autism.
“Neurotypical people engage with people with autism all the time but often do not know how to relate well to them because they do not understand how the world looks for someone on the spectrum”, according to Adam Harris.
“Through visiting this exhibition we believe young people will be much better equipped to engage with people with autism who they meet regularly in their day-to-day lives.”
The exhibition has been funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and developed by the AsIAm Youth Leadership Team, a group of young people with autism who act as advocates for the organisation.
It is part of a larger campaign which includes a social media campaign and a dedicated website - youthhub.asiam.ie.
Around 1 in 100 people in Ireland live with autism, and often face many barriers including bullying, unemployment and mental health difficulties.