Clonakilty’s Autism Friendly Town Committee marked three years with David Mitchell.

Celebrations in Clonakilty

A West Cork town is celebrating three years of being autism friendly.

Clonakilty’s journey to becoming an autism friendly town saw businesses, organisations, sports clubs, schools and community groups throughout the town undergo training and organisational changes to becoming autism friendly.

This initiative and accreditation were a first for anywhere in Ireland and has been an incredible success for the whole Clonakilty community, now acting as a benchmark for communities across Ireland as they embark on their journey to become autism friendly.

In October 2018, Clonakilty, through the partnership with AsIAm and SuperValu alongside local retailers Eugene and Catriona Scally of Scally’s SuperValu, became Ireland’s first ever Autism Friendly Town.

To mark the occasion the Clonakilty Autism Friendly Town Committee, AsIAm and SuperValu hosted a screening of the documentary, ‘The Reason I Jump’, followed by a Q&A with David Mitchell who translated the memoir by Naoki Higashida which the documentary is based on.

David also featured in the award-winning documentary which challenges stereotypes about autism.

The documentary is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory descriptions of his autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people.

Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm said: “As Ireland begins to reopen it is great to see Clonakilty host this special anniversary event after such a challenging period. ‘The Reason I Jump’ is a fantastic documentary that attempts to simulate the sensory experience of non-verbal autism and I’m delighted that the people of Clonakilty have had the opportunity to view the documentary and hear from David Mitchell and his experiences translating the memoir and working on the documentary itself.

“The work Clonakilty and the Autism Friendly Committee has done to sustain their position as an Autism Friendly Town over the last three years is tremendous and it is a truly inclusive community.”