Broad support for Autism Act
Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has speaking after the recent information night held by the South Down Branch of PAPA at Ballybot House there is now widespread support for legislation to protect and promote the rights of people with autism.
Mr Brady said;
"There is wide support from across the political board for an 'Autism Act' to be introduced that would not only provide the level protections required but also give the condition the profile it deserves and raise awareness on the subject.
"There is also an urgent need for the provision of proper financial and support resources. An infrastructure to deal with Autism in a caring, professional and structured way is essential.
"While it is very frustrating that the Middletown Autism Centre facility which had been first brought on stream by Martin McGuinness has not been up and running before now, there is a confidence that we are seeing positive signals that the waiting is over. The Centre will offer support and training to people living with and working with autism from across the island. There is no doubt of the huge benefits that the Centre will bring.
"This issues was discussed at the recent North/South Ministerial meeting where plans to carry out a consultation exercise with all relevant stakeholders involved to inform how the services would be delivered were discussed.
"At the meeting Ministers endorsed the future plans for the Centre which include the provision of training/advisory and information/research services and education, learning and support services which are due to come on stream once building work is completed.
"I also hope that proposals for a joint all-Ireland Autistic Spectrum Disorder conference in 2008 will become a reality." ENDS