Anyone with an interest in participating and co-creating this exciting new strategy is invited to consider what shape they believe the Strategy should take, the areas it should focus on, and the development and engagement timeline outlined for 2022.

The Autism Innovation Strategy development process is designed to facilitate the participation of autistic people at every stage, in line with commitments to ensure that people with disabilities have opportunities to input and engage in policy and law-making processes.

The Strategy will take a whole-of-government approach to advance the rights of people with autism in Irish society. It will identify key areas where individuals with autism face particular challenges and barriers and it will focus on practical and tangible solutions. The Strategy will deliver real and tangible action on challenges, needs and experiences of people with autism.

The Autism Innovation Strategy Development Process will have three key stages. Individuals with autism, their families, and their representatives will be invited to become involved to share their views and lived experiences.

Stage 1: Initial Public Consultation

An Initial online public consultation will take place in early 2022. Anyone interested in participating will be invited to submit responses to a survey questionnaire to offer their feedback, opinions and insights into the current supports and services provided and on what they feel needs to be addressed by the Autism Innovation Strategy. The responses received will inform and shape the initial draft of the Autism Innovation Strategy.

Stage 2: Open Call for Expressions of Interest to join the Strategy Oversight and Advisory Group

The implementation of the Autism Innovation Strategy will be overseen by an Oversight and Advisory Group. This Group will be majority neurodiverse and Chaired by Minister Rabbitte. This Group will provide guidance and monitoring on the development of the draft Autism Innovation Strategy and advise on the implementation and ultimate delivery of the Strategy. An Open Call for Expressions of Interest to join the Strategy Oversight and Advisory Group will be announced.

Stage 3: Consultation on Draft Autism Innovation Strategy

Following consultation and input from the Oversight and Advisory Group, the initial Draft Autism Innovation Strategy will be published. A further public consultation process will give anyone interested the opportunity to provide feedback on the Strategy before it is finalised and adopted.

Announcing the Autism Innovation Strategy Development Process, Minister Rabbitte said:

This year on April 2nd, at the AsIAm World Autism Day webinar, I announced this government’s intention to launch an Autism Innovation Strategy. This Strategy will provide a blueprint to increase public understanding of autism, improve accessibility for people with autism, and involve the autism community in policy development and service delivery. It is an opportunity for Ireland to become a leader across the EU and indeed the world on how to achieve a more autism-friendly and autism-aware country.

For the strategy to be successful, stakeholder consultation is vital and I would encourage anyone interested to take note of the development process and be ready to get involved in the key stages. Autistic people themselves know best what barriers they face and should be at the centre of the development of this strategy. In that spirit, I will chair the Oversight and Advisory Group, which I intend to reflect the lived experience of autism.

All feedback and submissions regarding the Autism Innovation Strategy Development Process can be sent to Autism_Strategy@equality.gov.ie

 ENDS