Clonakilty celebrates two years as Ireland’s first Autism Friendly town with Wall Street Journal best-selling author

American author, motivational speaker and educator, Jennifer Cook will lead the seminar

AsIAm and SuperValu host online webinar with Wall Street Journal best seller, author Jennifer Cook



27 October 2020

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This month Clonakilty celebrates two years of being officially accredited ‘Autism Friendly’. An initiative in place since October 2018, when Clonakilty, through the partnership with AsIAm and SuperValu alongside local retailers Eugene and Catriona Scally of Scally’s SuperValu, became Ireland’s first ‘Autism Friendly town’.

To mark the occasion AsIAm, SuperValu and the Clonakilty Autism Friendly Town Committee will host the webinar ‘Navigating Covid-19 in an Autism Friendly Way’ with American author Jennifer Cook.

A fairer, more inclusive ‘normal’

The webinar will focus on ideas, tools and tips for anybody navigating Covid-19 challenges in the community and show how both autism-friendly practice and autistic people can help inform how communities effectively respond to Covid-19 and create a fairer, more inclusive “normal.”

Jennifer Cook is an American author, motivational speaker and educator. She is best known for her six award-winning Asperkids books and her best-selling memoir Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum which was named one of the ‘Best Autism Books of All Time’. Jennifer’s three children have Asperger Syndrome and Jennifer herself was subsequently diagnosed.

To join the webinar on Wednesday, 28 October at 7.30pm those interested can register to attend here:

During the webinar Jennifer will:

  • Discuss ideas, tools, and tips that are life-changing for those on the autism spectrum and indeed life-changing for the entire human spectrum
  • Explain how only differently-wired minds can dream up different kinds of wonderful
  • Share examples of individuals, companies, and communities that prioritize human dignity as a basic starting place, rather than a goal, are the ones which draw positivity and lasting loyalty.

Journey to becoming 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 become 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. The aim of this SuperValu and AsIAm initiative is to create a greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism so that our communities become more accessible and enjoyable places for autistic people of all ages to live in.

“We are incredibly proud of our entire town, particularly the Clonakilty Autism Friendly Town Committee who have collectively worked to reach and sustain our position as an autism friendly town,” said SuperValu retailers Catriona and Eoghan Scally. “We are delighted to be a part of a committee which includes autistic voices and local bodies representing everyone from sports clubs, schools to retail and to celebrate this anniversary with this valuable webinar. We hope it not only marks the occasion but helps other communities across Ireland navigate this challenging time.”

“AsIAm delivers Community Support Seminars across Ireland with the kind support of SuperValu,” added Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm. “These seminars focus on issues our community will find challenging arising from changes related to Covid-19 and to celebrate the second anniversary of Clonakilty becoming Autism Friendly we have the best-selling author Jennifer Cook to share insights on how people can navigate our new normal.”

This programme is supported by SuperValu Ireland.



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