A Wollongong mother of two children on the Autism spectrum who has Asperger’s herself is calling for more opportunities for people like her to have input in community initiatives.
After being invited to be part of the new committee to make Corrimal the first "Autism Friendly Community" local resident Cassandra Kavanagh wants more people like her to have involvement in more public spaces becoming autism friendly.
Mrs Kavanagh said she welcomed the role on the committee in Corrimal because of the positive impact they could help make that would benefit many families.
She took it very seriously because she would like to see the autism friendly concept spread throughout the region, nation and globally.
Mrs Kavanagh cited some recent examples of why she is concerned for all people in all communities who have differences and variances that are perceived as being outside the norm.
And she would like to see councils such as Wollongong involve committees like that in Corrimal in community projects such as a recent art installation in Crown Street Mall.
Mrs Kavanagh said it was important for children with mobility challenges to be able to navigate such spaces.
“When one of my sons was younger and his autism impacted on him more seriously, these factors combined with being non-verbal and having serious motor challenges, would have made coming to the mall like it is now impossible,” she said.
Mrs Kavanagh said making areas such as the mall more autism friendly for children with special needs meant more families would be able to more easily come and shop in the city centre.
“Young children naturally want to climb everything,” she said.
“This isn't about the controversy of public art in community spaces and the issue of whether you personally like it or not. This is about creating workable, enjoyable, safe and functional spaces for everyone that cater for the diversity of ability within the community.”