SuperValu today (19 September) announced an additional 11 towns on the journey to becoming autism-friendly continuing to advance their national campaign in partnership with AsIAm, Ireland's national autism charity and advocacy organisation.
The campaign originally began in Clonakilty, Co.Cork, which has now expanded considerably with the addition of the new towns which includes Clane, Bray, Greystones, Wicklow Town, New Ross, Skerries, Lucan, Castlebar, Mallow, Listowel and Tralee.
“As a business, we are on a journey to help make our communities more autism-friendly," said Martin Kelleher, managing director SuperValu.
"Today’s announcement of 11 more towns joining our campaign shows that our roadmap for change is working hard and delivering more inclusive communities."
The aim of this campaign is to communicate the message that communities fully accessible for autistic people are stronger, more sustainable places to live, the retailer said in a statement.
In conjunction with the announcement, a survey conducted by AsIAm showed that presently, the autism community does not find society accessible, understanding and inclusive - but that simple steps could be taken to help change this.
The research showed that 97% of respondents believe that the general public do not understand enough about autism.
89% of the respondents said that they believe that it is important that the general public are educated about autism.
Even more striking were the answers offered by those surveyed in relation to their shopping experiences:
The survey indicated that 82% believe that most businesses or organizations in their community do not provide the necessary tools to help them participate.
However, 62% said they had shopped in an autism friendly store.
79% believe that most businesses or organizations in their community do not provide a supportive sensory environment which meets their needs.
Live, Work And Play
Autistic people live, work and play in every community across the country, highlighted Adam Harris, CEO, AsIAM.
"Too often a lack of understanding prevents autistic people from fully participating and contributing to the community," He said.
"Small steps can make a big difference and communities working together to increase understanding and improve accessibility will bring about happier, healthier lives for autistic people."
Harris will host the AsIAm National Conference which will be taking place this weekend in Malahide, Co. Dublin.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.