Adam Harris of the Irish autism awareness non-profit AsIAm will be at the Irish Arts Center in New York on June 5 for a screening of the documentary Autism and Me, followed by a talkback. 

Adam Harris is launching a national conversation on Autism in Ireland. Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was five years old, Harris grew to feel fortunate that he was able to receive intervention from early on but also acutely aware of how little information there was readily available to kids and young adults navigating the autism spectrum. 

At the age of 18, he founded AsIAm - Autism Spectrum Information and Meeting point, with the hope of spreading awareness and creating an informative, safe, inclusive space for those in the AS community. 

As he noted, while Ireland had made significant progress talking openly about mental health and sexuality, autism remained a difficult topic. 

"While people had become aware they hadn't reached a point of understanding," he recalls. 
"That was very much my experience growing up in Ireland. If I explained it to people, they'd treat me differently because they wanted to do the right thing but they didn't understand what the right thing was."
So he wanted to do something to bridge that gap, especially since  Autistic people are adapting to the world every day, so it makes sense for the world to try to meet them halfway. AsIAm's mission? To educate, empower, advocate, and foster community. 

In just 4 years AsIAm has gone from a one-man initiative operating out of his bedroom to a full-fledged non-profit with a full-time staff of 7. 

Harris is in New York this week to for a special screening of the recent RTÉ documentary Autism and Me at the Irish Arts Center, presented with support from the Ireland Funds. The screening takes place Tuesday night - more details here

The groundbreaking documentary, recently nominated for an IFTA, looks at the lives of young people with Autism. According to Harris, the aim was to cast not a clinical or political light, but a human one. 

It debuted last March to rave reviews and captured the attention of viewers across Ireland, opening people's eyes to the unique challenges faced by the AS community. 

Harris is looking forward to showing US audiences the work Ireland is doing in hopes of becoming one of the best countries in the world in which to be Autistic. 

To learn more about AsIAm, visit their website

Want to watch Autism and Me? It's on Amazon Prime