September 2007

The Atlantic Autism Alliance

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The first business meeting of the Atlantic Autism Alliance was held in Cardiff on 23rd April 2008. The parties (The Celtic Nations Partnership and The Autism Society of America) agreed a programme for 2008/2009.

  • Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the US Congress and The Northern Ireland Assembly.
  • Dialogue between Governments for Autism
  • Strategic and Legislative programmes

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At the end of September, the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington DC were responsible for a high profile delegation of politicians from the Northern Ireland Assembly who led a fact-finding visit to Washington organised under the auspices of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership and in partnership with the Autism Society of America and the Autism Caucus at Capitol Hill.

Outcomes of the visit were:

  • Launch of the Atlantic Autism Alliance with the joining of the American Society for Autism and the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership. (Home & Away Edition Newsletter)
  • Historic signing at Capitol Hill of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US Congress Autism Caucus and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  • Statement of Support from Senator Hilary Clinton 

The Northern Ireland Assembly Autism Caucus met in formal Session in January 2008 to discuss priorities for the incoming year including developing its links with the US Congress Autism Caucus.

Next steps for the Autism Caucus at the Northern Ireland Assembly included the strengthening of ties with the Autism Caucus at the US Congress as well as the monitoring of the progress of the Ministerial Review on Autism announced in September 2007.

Next steps for the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership following the completion of the National Launches in Scotland and Republic of Ireland in 2008 would be the contribution of mutual support, political support and the roll out of exchange of expertise and models of best practice such as early intervention, research, training and services.

Next steps for Autism NI would include the effective presentation of the case for positive social change and rights based Legislation. To support this and to prevent unnecessary duplication and delay, Autism NI have written two "must read" discussion documents (see attachments at bottom of this page).

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Arlene Cassidy(AutismNI) with the signed Memorandum.JPG

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