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Who we are

Learn about The Irish Society for Autism

A profile of our organisation

The Irish Society for Autism was created in 1963, and has long campaigned for Autism in Ireland and Worldwide. We are the longest established specialist service for people with Autism in Ireland. The Society was formed with the goals of creating awareness about Autism, and convincing the authorities that early diagnosis and specialised education would greatly enhance the quality of life for Autistic people. 

Since 1963 the Irish Society for Autism has been providing information for thousands of people, parents, families, educators, students and health care workers. We have helped to establish residential services for adults with Autism in Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Wexford.

The Irish Society for Autism is a founder member of Autism Europe and the World Autism Organisation. The Executive Director, Pat Matthews, was the first President of the World Autism Organisation. 

Irish Society for Autism 50th Anniversary Conference

Our work & key milestones


The Irish Society for Autism is formed. A small group of dedicated parents and friends came together to form the Irish Society for Autistic Children.
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Timeline icon representing a book


On Thursday the 9th of May 1996, The European Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism was signed by 331 Members of the European Parliament, and passed by the European Parliament. The Charter was co-authored by Executive Director of the Irish Society for Autism Dr. Pat Matthews.


People of the Year awarded to Pat & Nuala Matthews for their commitment to Autism.

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World Autism Organisation Founded. Pat Matthews elected as First President.


Opening of Sarshill House, Wexford and the purchase of Cluain Farm, Kinnegad. The development of two new services by the I.S.A represents the commitment of the organisation to respond positively to the needs of people with Autism.

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Official Opening of Dunfirth Farm by President McAleese.


The Report of the Task Force on Autism. Pat Matthews was a member of the Task Force.

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First World Autism Awareness Day.


Address the United Nation. Pat Matthews briefed the UN Public Information Services on Autism and Human Rights. Attendees represented National and International N.G.O’s working with the United Nations.

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Timeline icon representing the Charter of Rights for People With Autism


Book launched. ‘Charter of Rights for People with Autism, Reflections and Personal Experiences‘. Contributions from parents, professionals and people with Autism.


The Irish Society for Autism celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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Our future

Our target for the next generation is to ensure that Autism specific legislation and an Irish and European Strategy for Autism is developed and to continue the development of services of excellence for Autistic people.