Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Autism

Autism Policy in Education: Discussion (Resumed)

Mr. Hugo MacNeill:

Members can see why we are so enthusiastic and passionate about this. It is because we see the result of lives being transformed. We would love if every university and third level institution would do a programme like this. As Deputy Carroll MacNeill mentioned, every employer should ask itself whether it could take on a person with a disability.

I got involved in this six or seven years ago, before which I had not heard of the programme. I am a graduate of Trinity. I went to an event, held by the Chartered Accountants Ireland, where young graduates talked about how their life had been transformed by this programme and how they got into employment. Interestingly, parents stood up and spoke about how their son or daughter was not sitting in the corner with a Game Boy but were sitting at the dinner table and talking about how their day had gone. We then talked to the employers, who gave great feedback and they wanting to get involved. We are quite messianic about this, in that we want to spread the word.

The point the Deputy made at the end was really important. How do we get the word out? It can come though electoral representatives, through the Oireachtas and through people being advocates for us in what we are trying to do. There is enormous potential in this. Ireland is one of the world leaders in this regard but this is only scratching the surface and it could be magnified. There is a huge prize for this, in that individuals' lives will be transformed.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.