Atlantic Autism Alliance
The Atlantic Autism Alliance was launched in Washington DC (2007) during the Autism NI led visit (by CNAP and NI Assembly delegates) to meet the US Congressional sponsors of Autism legislation in the USA. In 2015, the AAA was reactivated in response to response to requests for increased membership to the CNAP. The relaunch (the Autism Summit) at the NI Assembly was attended by representatives from Scottish Autism, ASC (Cymru), Irish Society for Autism, the Autism Society of America and Autism NI. The AAA is committed to best practice collaborations and research development partnership.
The Autism Summit in 2015 is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the U.S. Congress and the Northern Ireland Assembly Autism Caucas in 2007. The two countries formally agreed to develop cooperative relationships with significant national Autism organisations for the purpose of increasing awareness, resources and support for people and their families who are impacted by Autism. Reaching out beyond those directly affected by Autism to the general population is the next step in the process of helping the public's understanding of the lifelong developmental disability.
At the Autism Summit, Dr Arlene Cassidy MBE (CEO Autism NI) was joined by Autism experts including: Scott Badesch (President/CEO Autism Society of America) Dr. Thomas McCool an expert in the field of Autism, Pat Matthews (CEO Autism Ireland), Alan Somerville (Scottish Autism) and Andy Grainger (ASC Cymru). Also invited to the Summit are Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), co-chairs of the US Congressional Autism Caucus. Sponsoring the Autism Summit is Innovative Learning Inc. founded by local resident of the Santa Ynez Valley Dr. Mike Reid, PhD. Dr. Reid stated, "We're supporting this Summit because it is the first time in history that such a comprehensive process is planned with individuals and organisations fully committed to support those who will have to face the challenges of Autism long into the future."
A programme of action was agreed to be preogressed at meeting in May 2015 (Belfast): November 2015 (Edinburgh) and in Washington DC. in 2016.