Sandymount community group aiming to create Ireland’s most neurodiverse-friendly environment

Padraig Conlon 07 Apr 2022
(Pictured left to right at the launch are NS advocate Leo Cullen; Antoinette Carney, Store Sandymount manager; and NS committee member Caroline Hyde, and autism assistance dog Waffles. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland)

A NEWLY established community group says it is aiming to position Sandymount as a national leader in becoming neurodiversity-friendly.

Founded by a group of parents of autistic children and those with other neurodivergent profiles, Neurodiversity Sandymount has partnered with AslAm, the national autism charity, to help create an environment where ‘different brains and unique thinkers’ are welcomed.


Pictured at last week’s launch (l to r): Leo Cullen advocate for Neurodiversity Sandymount & his daughter Iya Cullen; Caroline Hyde of the Neurodiversity Sandymount Committee; and Waffles, an autism assistance dog

“Neurodiversity” is a concept which encourages the world to view neurodevelopmental differences like autism, ADHD and intellectual disability as brain differences, rather than deficits that need to be ‘fixed’.

Neurodivergent people experience and interact with the world in a different way. According to Neurodiversity Sandymount, embracing these different brains and their qualities and strengths can benefit the entire community.

“Sandymount is already a great example of inclusivity, with specialist autism classrooms in two local schools, Scoil Mhuire and Star of the Sea,” said Dairine Cullen, co-founder of Neurodiversity Sandymount.

“Now we are asking the entire village to join us in making the small changes needed to ensure even more awareness and understanding for neurodiverse children and their families.

“The more support we get from people and businesses in the village, the bigger difference we can make to our children’s lives and to the entire Sandymount community.”

A number of high-profile local businesses have already pledged their support for the initiative including Tesco, the Sandymount Hotel, Mira Mira, Crudo and others.

Minister Anne Rabbite, who supports the initiative, said:

“I’d like to congratulate Neurodiversity Sandymount on their launch on Wednesday.

“I know Sandymount has been to the fore in developing the village as a neurodiverse-friendly area and making it a more inclusive environment, and this hard work must be acknowledged.”

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