Celebrating 60 Years of the Irish Society for Autism: A Beacon of Support and Advocacy for Autistic Children and Their Families

15 Sep, 2023 | anishdr | No Comments

Celebrating 60 Years of the Irish Society for Autism: A Beacon of Support and Advocacy for Autistic Children and Their Families

In 2023, the Irish Society for Autism celebrates a remarkable milestone — 60 years of relentless service and advocacy for autistic individuals and their families in Ireland and globally. Established in 1963, the society has been a cornerstone in the autism community, providing information, establishing residential services, and championing the rights of autistic people. Let’s take a closer look at the journey and the pivotal role the society has played over the years.

Foundation and Early Years

In 1963, a group of dedicated parents and friends came together to form the Irish Society for Autistic Children, with the primary goals of raising awareness about autism and advocating for early diagnosis and specialized education. The society believed that these steps would significantly enhance the quality of life for autistic individuals.

Milestones and Achievements

Over the years, the society has achieved numerous milestones, including:

  • 1982: Purchased Dunfirth Farm, pioneering the development of an integrated rural-based community for autistic people in Ireland.
  • 1983: Became a founding member of Autism Europe, with the society’s Executive Director, Dr. Pat Matthews, serving as its first Vice President.
  • 1996: Co-authored the European Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism, which was signed and passed by the European Parliament.
  • 1998: Founded the World Autism Organisation, with Pat Matthews elected as its first president.
  • 2000: Opened new services including Sarshill House in Wexford and Cluain Farm in Kinnegad, showcasing the society’s commitment to responding positively to the needs of autistic people.
  • 2006: Formed the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership, collaborating with members from Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
  • 2008: Celebrated the first World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, re-launching the European Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism.
  • 2010: Witnessed Pat Matthews receiving an Honorary Doctorate at Trinity College Dublin for his lifetime commitment to people with autism.
  • 2013: Celebrated its 50th anniversary with a two-day international conference attended by delegates from over 30 countries.
  • 2017: Undertook a successful training partnership with the Football Association of Ireland.
  • 2018: Joined the Commission for Aviation Regulation’s Passenger Advisory Group to advocate on behalf of autistic people.
  • 2020: Adapted service and training delivery to continue providing uninterrupted support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 2022: Launched the ‘Bounce for Autism’ campaign, donating trampolines to special schools and autism classes across the country for the benefit of autistic students.

Looking Ahead

As the society celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2023, it stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment to enhancing the lives of autistic individuals and their families. The society continues to be a vital resource, offering information and support to parents, families, educators, students, and healthcare workers.


From its inception, the Irish Society for Autism has been a beacon of hope, working tirelessly to foster a deeper understanding of autism and establish an ethos of respect and regard for autistic people. As we celebrate this significant milestone, we look forward to the society’s future endeavors in championing the rights and welfare of autistic individuals.

For more information about the Irish Society for Autism and its initiatives, you can visit their official website or contact them at +353 1 874 4684 or admin@autism.ie.

This article is based on information available on the Irish Society for Autism’s website. It is always recommended to refer to the original source for the most current information.

Write Reviews

Leave a Comment

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No Comments & Reviews

Book an Appointment

× Book appointment with us