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Local Playground Could Be Trialled With Autism-Friendly Communication Boards

Writes Ciaran Dineen

The Carrigaline playground could potentially be part of an autism-friendly initiative in a cross-county trial for ASD communications boards.

The news comes in response to a motion from Councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan from last month’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District, in which the local representative called for the installation of “autism-friendly” equipment in the Carrigaline playground.

Speaking in County Hall Cllr Dalton O’Sullivan said that given the enormous population that the playground serves, it should cater to facilitate all groups of people. He said that this “would allow young children with ASD and their parents to go to the playground and enjoy their time there with appropriate play equipment”.

In response to his motion the Councillor was informed that it was only recently that Cork County Council had been made aware of the concept of ASD communication boards and the benefits that they offer. They have indicated a willingness to pursue a trial by installing some of these boards in different parts of the county in order to promote social inclusion for the services that it delivers as a local authority.

Speaking to The Carrigdhoun Newspaper upon hearing this intention the Councillor said, “I believe this will be a huge success and would be very much welcomed by parents and families of children with ASD in Carrigaline and surrounding areas. As a Municipal District, I believe we can and should be leading the way in Cork for disability and age-friendly inclusion by adapting our facilities where possible. I’m also calling for sensory play equipment to be installed in the playground along with these communication boards.”

Supporting this were Councillor Marcia D’Alton (Ind) and Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) who both suggested that the playground in Carrigaline is well due an upgrade, having now been open for over 15 years. Cllr D’Alton added that about three years ago she raised the concept of ASD friendly equipment and how playgrounds in the county should be equipped with as much socially inclusive material as possible.

MD Executive Officer, Nicola Radley, agreed that she would be happy to put Carrigaline forward for suggestion at the next meeting of the Social Inclusion, Community and Rural Development SPC (Strategic Policy Committee).

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