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Early Childhood Ireland

Irish Autism Action express sincere gratitude for the overwhelming support of children, families, and educators across Ireland in making National Pyjama Day 2015 and 2016 such a huge success.


Through the overwhelming support of children, families, and educators across Ireland, National Pyjama Day 2015 raised over €300,000. Funds were used to support the development of the Access Autism website, increase awareness of Autism in the early childhood sector and provide autism-specific training to early childhood educators across Ireland.

In Ireland some 50,000 people have a diagnosis of Autism (Autism Counts Prevalence Study funded by IAA 2014). Furthermore, it has been proven that for each person diagnosed, five other people’s lives are affected by the diagnosis. In effect, the number of people with autism would fill the Aviva stadium 5 times over with the lives affected by Autism.

Internationally, it has been proven that the best approach to maximizing the potential for those on the spectrum is earliest possible detection/diagnosis, earliest possible intervention/therapy, and appropriate education. This is where, together, we can make a difference.

This website has proven to be of huge value, providing basic awareness information as well as practical tips and strategies to help you create meaningful inclusive experiences for your entire class or group, but this was only the beginning. Irish Autism Action has delivered on a training programme consisting of 3-4 sessions to assist early childhood educators in understanding and supporting the unique behaviour, language and communication, and sensory needs of children with Autism. This training was delivered in the first two quarters of 2016 in all 26 counties, in conjunction with Early Childhood Ireland.

Thank you to everyone, all the wonderful children and adults who supported national pyjama day. Irish Autism action and the families we serve are both humbled and honoured by the level of support the awareness day received. Without your support, this project wouldn’t have been possible.


Irish Autism Action is available to provide a range of training’s upon request, which vary over time. Training’s delivered in partnership with Early Childhood Ireland have included:

Autism Specific Training for Early Childhood Educators Across Ireland.

In 2016, Early Childhood Ireland and Irish Autism Action delivered a training series across all 26 counties in Ireland aimed at supporting early childhood providers in providing an inclusive environment for children with autism in their settings. The programme consisted of 3 sessions addressing the unique language, communication, sensory and behavioural needs of young children with autism.

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The Early Start Denver Model:

This is a highly respected evidence-based early intervention programme which originated in the US at the MIND institute.  This was brought to Ireland by IAA in November 2015 to train 10 professionals in leading edge early intervention techniques. For more information see:

The Step Ahead Programme.

With the support of Early Childhood Ireland, Irish Autism Action also piloted the very successful Step Ahead programmes on four occasions. This was a 14 week inter disciplinary programme for children under the age of 5 with ASD.   Children received individualized instruction, with goals and intervention strategies devised by a team comprised of our Behaviour Analyst, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Psychologist.   Parent coaching and information sessions were also part of the programme and addressed sensory needs, accessing benefits and entitlements, preparing for school and self-care for parents.

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Testimonial 1 Step Ahead :
‘Our lives have changed so much from taking part in the Step Ahead Programme. My son Jude, just turned 3 years old, has severe autism and is non-verbal. He can now communicate a lot non-verbally. He couldn’t at all before, he scored 0.01% communication with HSE assessment. Now he is so much happier’

Testimonial 2 Step Ahead :
The Step Ahead programme is a very welcome opportunity for my 2 children, J and Evan who are on the autism spectrum, to benefit from the skills and expertise of the team in Irish Autism Action. I feel early intervention is so paramount for our children to get them the specialist help the desperately need. It is very frustrating as parents to find that the services such as speech and language and occupational therapy are so poor for these children and it is a constant battle to access basic services for our children. The team at IAA are very dedicated to helping J and E reach their true potential and as parents that is what we strive for. This programme also offers support to us parents who often feel isolated in this tsunami of autism and are very grateful for advice from the team.