Frequently Asked Questions

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a  developmental disorder; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.

ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviours and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviours associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviours or just a few or many others besides.

The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on an analysis of all behaviours and their severity. A short video on understanding autism can be viewed by clicking here.

Autism is now better understood than in the past and consequently better diagnosed. Recent studies from Dublin City University show the prevalence of autism in Ireland is 1:100 (some other studies say 1.1, 1.53 and parent reporting 2% in the US).

In 2017 the National Disability Authority of Ireland estimated that there are between 16,000 -23,000 adults with autism solely (no ID present). The male to female ratio is generally accepted to be 4:1. This would mean there are approximately 13,103 men and 3,276 women with ASD between 18 and 65 years in Ireland without an ID.

For each individual age group, there are potentially 341 people with autism without an ID. Click here for more information.

Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that argues diverse neurological conditions are a result of normal variations in the human genome.

Neurodiversity is:

"...a concept where neurological differences are to be recognised and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labelled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others."

In other words, a condition such as autism is a part of who the person is and to take away the autism is to take away the person. As such, neurodiversity activists reject the idea that autism should be cured, advocating instead for celebrating autistic forms of communication and self-expression, and for promoting support systems that allow people with autism to live as someone with autism.

Today, neurodiversity is broadly defined as an approach to learning and disability that suggests diverse neurological conditions as a result of normal variations in the human genome.

Neurodiversity advocates promote support systems (such as inclusion-focused services, accommodations, communication and assistive technologies, occupational training, and independent living support) that allow those who are neuro-divergent to live their lives as they are, rather than being coerced or forced to adopt uncritically accepted ideas of normality, or to conform to a clinical ideal.

Currently Gheel provides adult services only.

Gheel provides services in Dublin & North Kildare region only at present (Feb 2019)

Information coming soon...

Yes, our residential services are registered by Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA) and full details can be found on their website

Your feedback matters to us. It helps us to improve our services. There are many ways that you can submit your feedback: 

  • Tell a staff member of Gheel
  • Download a copy of our Feedback form here and accessible Feedback form here
  • Email us at
  • Send a letter to: Level 3, 501 North Business Park, Mitchelstown Road, Ballycoolin, Dublin 15, D15 Y00V
  • For further information you can download our Feedback Policy here.
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