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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 25 May, 2019
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Dublin is to get Europe's first autism-friendly campus

Unemployment among those on the autism spectrum is around 80%, despite many having third-level degrees.

Ardit Hoxha, Adam Harris and Caoimhe Ni Chatail
Ardit Hoxha, Adam Harris and Caoimhe Ni Chatail
Image: Nick Bradshaw

DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY (DCU) is aiming to become Ireland’s first autism-friendly campus.

The plan comes in collaboration with AsIAm.ie, the autism support website.

The university is beginning an 18-month programme to “create a learning environment that allows students with Autism and Aspergers to take part fully in college life”.

DCU President Professor Brian MacCraith says that unemployment among those on the autism spectrum is around 80%, despite many having third-level degrees.

“This is a loss not just to the individuals, but to the employers who miss out on a cohort of talented and qualified people. This programme will include autism-friendly internships that if implemented nationally could lead to employment for up to 400 students each year.”
AsIAm.ie founder Adam Harris said that the programme will help students transition to third level and then to independence.

Working with Dublin City University, we can create a social, commercial, academic and cultural environment which is wholly inclusive. If we succeed, more people with autism will remain and succeed both at third-level and subsequently in work.

Specialisterne, a social concept founded in Denmark, will provide employment assessment, preparation and support services to those undergraduates placed in industry.

Funding of €50,000 has been allocated from the Dormant Accounts Fund to develop a pilot programme.

Read: Rosanna Davison is upset over ‘very aggressive’ criticism

Read: This Santa went above and beyond to hear a Christmas wish from a little boy with autism

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