Susan’s WAW Run – a novel way to promote greater autism awareness

The Wild Atlantic Way (WAW), with Shannon Airport as its natural gateway, has proved to be a hugely popular tourist trail in recent years but now it’s the focal point for a novel autism awareness programme spearheaded by Susan Crawford, a pioneer in this field.

Dr Crawford embarks on a 2,500 km Autism Active/Autism Aware run on the WAW in Kinsale this Saturday to raise awareness of the condition. A two-time Fulbright Award winner for her R&D work in this area, Susan is the mother of Tomás, who is a young man diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“With 1 in 58 people being diagnosed as having ASD, it is important that individuals, communities, businesses and professionals in all walks of life go the extra mile to gain an understanding and promote autism awareness,” Susan said.

Susan’s ambitious run over the coming months, which will take her through all counties on the WAW, including the Clare coastline in June, and culminate in Derry in the Autumn, is aimed at making the WAW both Autism Active and Autism Aware by the end of 2019.

She would be delighted with anyone joining her on the road. Equally, she would like to meet/chat and share stories with those living and supporting individuals with ASD. Along the way, she will deliver two-hour certified autism awareness training courses at a number of identified venues.

“Shannon Chamber congratulates Susan on her imaginative use of the WAW to promote a most laudable objective,” Helen Downes, CEO said.

“Greater awareness of ASD in the business community, for instance, will mean individuals on the spectrum can participate meaningfully while firms and mainstream society can gain from their many talents.

“Susan’s use of WAW in this way can also inspire others to utilise the fabulous natural resources of the West of Ireland route as a focal point for different positive purposes,” Helen added.