Newry and Armagh Assembly Member Cathal Boylan has welcomed the launch of “The Autism Strategy (2013-2020) and Action Plan (2013-2016)”.
The Sinn Féin representative and member of the Assembly’s All Party Working Group on Autism said;
“This is welcome, positive news for those affected by autism, particularly for all those parents and carers who have lobbied so hard to see services and support enhanced.”
“The Strategy and Action Plan sets out a number of key themes and actions including an awareness campaign, signposting to information, support for families, a multi-agency advice service pilot scheme and development in adult autism services amongst others.
“This new cross departmental and multi-agency approach clearly defines the roles and responsibilities for each sector and how they must work together to provide support for autistic people and their families.
Mr Boylan explained;
“I have been a member of this autism group for the past 6 years and I think the production of this plan has the potential to greatly enhance the life opportunities for people with autism and their families.
“The strategy recognises the contribution to the sector of the Centre for Autism, Middletown which is an all island centre of excellence for research into autism. Indeed the action plan cites this centre numerous times as having a key role to play in ensuring that children and young people with autism receive a high quality education that prepares them for life and work and enables them to fulfil their potential. I am looking forward to working with the Middletown Centre to ensure the delivery of this responsibility.”
The Newry and Armagh MLA concluded by saying whilst he welcomes this approach the crucial test will be the implementation of this Strategy and Plan.