Autism Cymru launches ground-breaking web site as Welsh Health Minister announces pioneering autism strategy|
CARDIFF: Wales is set to lead the world in autism provision with the launch of a cradle-to-grave strategy and the first Internet resource of its kind. Both initiatives are designed to improve the lives of people and families affected by the disorder.
The world's first national website resource for autism - AWARes - has been developed by Autism Cymru to bring the autism community in Wales together. As well as providing information on autism services throughout Wales, the bilingual website will also provide detailed explanations of autism, treat-ments and therapies.
A series of live on-line seminars are planned to spread good practice and enable parents and others to ask questions and get answers on the Internet. An on-line library is also being developed which will include video and audio clips of presentations for AWARes by some of the world's leading authorities on autism.
The website was launched on December 4 as the Welsh Health Minister, Jane Hutt, announced the development of an autism strategy which will include screening, assessment and diagnosis at all ages, children's services, adult services including housing and supported employment.
Autism Cymru's chief executive, Hugh Morgan said: "A cradle-to-grave strategy will make a massive difference to families, children and adults with autism in Wales. When it is eventually produced, Wales will be the first country in the world to have such a strategy - it's pioneering stuff."
Morgan added: "AWARes is the start of a journey to create the largest online autism community in the country. We are delighted the Minister has demonstrated her support for what we consider to be a significant milestone in the lives of those affected by autism in Wales."
For her part, Hutt declared: "The launch of the website is an important building block towards the establishment of an all-Wales strategy. It is a valuable step in tackling deficiencies in the understanding of autism. I believe we have an opportunity, through the development of a strategy for autism, of ironing out inequity of access, of spreading good practice across Wales and linking with other initiatives to tackle problems which contribute to social exclusion."
AWARes can be accessed at www.AWARES.org
(Sources: The Western Mail; BBC News Online)