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Press release

Europe can learn from Wales in dealing with autism

Press release from Plaid MEP Jill Evans

Plaid Cymru MEP and President, Jill Evans, has organised a meeting with the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy to discuss the pioneering Welsh Autism strategy.

At the meeting in Strasbourg on Wednesday 18th April, Hugh Morgan OBE, the Chief Executive of Autism Cymru (Wales' national charity for autism), will present the strategy to Commissioner Dalli, which is the first of its kind in the world. The aim of the meeting is to develop partnership work with organisations across Europe to share experience and expertise from Wales.

Ms Evans said:

"The work that Autism Cymru has done in developing the national strategy is outstanding. It came about as a consequence of my party's role in government and was launched in 2008. It was one of a number of initiatives to support those living with autism, such as establishing a support website, support targeted specifically at adults and awareness raising and training for advocacy personnel.

"It is the first national autism strategy to be launched in the world. I hope that Commissioner Dalli will support us in ensuring that countries across the European Union benefit from the pioneering work done in Wales. We are very proud that Wales has led the way in addressing the needs of people who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is very important now that we share the experience and expertise we have with other autism organisations".

Hugh Morgan OBE, Chief Executive of Autism Cymru, said:

"People with autism and their families comprise 1% of the total population of Europe and deserve the best support and opportunities in order to make valued contributions to today’s society. Our task is to turn these aspirations into reality. Since the launch of the Welsh Government’s ASD Strategic Action Plan for Wales in 2008 big steps have been made towards our aim of making Wales a truly ‘autism-friendly’ country. What has become apparent during this amazing journey is that the Welsh policy model for autism is in advance of the approach taken by many, if not all, nations in the world and as a result the reputation and influence of Wales is quickly growing on the global stage of autism.

"I am therefore extremely grateful to Jill Evans for enabling me on behalf of Autism Cymru to meet with the European Commissioner and also to Jill and her fellow MEPs for working in partnership in order help us to project the Welsh model for autism on the European stage. I now look forward to the opportunities to constructively progress the cause of autism throughout Europe alongside our partners, especially those in the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership and Autisme-Europe"

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