Celtic Nations Autism Partnership launches Atlantic Alliance with Autism Society of America|
WASHINGTON DC, USA: In a ground-breaking move, the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership - comprising Autism Cymru, Autism Northern Ireland, the Scottish Society for Autism and the Irish Society for Autism - launched the Atlantic Alliance with the Autism Socety of America in Washington on September 25, sharing the organisations' models of practice.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Northern Ireland Assembly Autism Caucus and the Autism Caucus of the United States Congress was also signed at the Capitol, in Washington, on September 25. Signing for the United States House of Representatives were Congressmen Mike Doyle and Chris Doyle, both of whom have worked tirelessly for the cause of autism in the US.
The Memorandum of Understanding declared: "Autism has become a key disability issue requiring legal redress as Northern Ireland emerges from over 30 years of conflict. The Northern Ireland Assembly is the first Assmembly/Parliament in the British Isles to vote for autism spectrum disorders legislation and it did so unanimously in January 2007."
The declared aims of the Memorandum of Understanding are: to support the development of legislation in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the US Congress in dealing with ths issue of autism; to identify areas of common interest, for example access to research data, and to encourage the exchange of opportunities, for example university links.
In a statement, Senator Hillary Clinton declared: "During the visit of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership, autism advocates and policy-makers from multiple countries had the opportunity to share their strageies and ideas to improve the care and treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. With this Memorandum of Understanding, we will be able to further research ties and promote co-operation between our governments and non-profit organisations. I have introduced legislation, the Expanding the Promise of Individuals with Autism act, which would increase the availability of services and enhance training opportunites for disability professionals, and I look forward to learning how the best practices of the Celtic nations can help inform our initiatives to address autism."
(Source: Awares, September 27, 2007)