Presentation of The Autism Dividend in Wales

On 1st February, the National Autism Project report, The Autism Dividend: Reaping the Rewards of Better Investment was presented at an event in the Senedd of the National Assembly for Wales.  The event was kindly sponsored by Dr Dai Lloyd AM, who welcomed the findings of the report and expressed his hope that its recommendations would be useful in supporting the efforts being made in Wales to meet the needs of autistic people.  He reminded the audience that Wales was the first country in the world to launch an all-age ASD Strategic Action Plan in 2008.  Hilary Gilfoy, ex-CEO of Autistica, and an advisor to NAP, then introduced the project, its origins and its goals.


Report authors: Dr Ian Ragan

The Director of the project, Dr Ian Ragan , described the main findings and recommendations of the report and stressed the hope that Wales and the other devolved nations of the UK would use the report as an authoritative source of information to guide policy and select research priorities. The final speaker, Claire Fitzgerald, from Autism Spectrum Connections Cymru (ASCC), welcomed the report from the perspective of an autistic person and spoke with great humour and passion about the need of autistic people to be more involved in all aspects of life.


Claire Fitzgerald, Autism Spectrum Connections Cymru.

The final speaker, Claire Fitzgerald, from Autism Spectrum Connections Cymru (ASCC), welcomed the report from the perspective of an autistic person and spoke with great humour and passion about the need of autistic people to be more involved in all aspects of life.


Dr Dai Lloyd

We were pleased by the number of people who attended the event, especially the Assembly Members,  Dr Dai Lloyd and Mark Isherwood.

The main part of the report was translated into Welsh and can be downloaded from this website.

The National Autism Project team would like to thank Gareth Morgan from ASCC for all his help in setting up this successful and enjoyable event.

 

Event gallery – Wales

Presentation of The Autism Dividend in Scotland

On 2nd February, The Autism Dividend was presented at a similar event in the Scottish Parliament building.  We are grateful to Graeme Dey MSP for sponsoring the event and speaking so positively about the report.  Dr Ian Ragan again introduced the report and its recommendations.


Maureen Watt MSP

We were honoured by the presence of Maureen Watt MSP, Minister for Mental Health, who outlined the policies in place in Scotland to meet the needs of autistic people and welcomed the report as a useful and authoritative guide to evidence-based practice and research priorities. 

Dr Ian Ragan, Dr Catriona Stewart and Simon Hunt
She was followed by Dr Catriona Stewart, Chair of SWAN (Scottish Women’s Autism Network), and currently at Scottish Autism, who, as a member of NAP’s Autistic Advisory Panel (AAP) and one of NAP’s Experts, has been closely involved with the project from the beginning. Catriona described the formation of the AAP led by Dr Dinah Murray and how the commitment of NAP’s Strategy Board to facilitate the autistic voice and include autistic lived experiences led to the creation of a valuable document with genuine signposting for next steps.
As many of the participants had taken advantage of the magnificent round table seating of the Burns Room, Graeme Dey orchestrated a lively Q&A session after the speeches as can be seen by the photos.

Alexander Stewart MSP and and Dr Larry Arnold

We were pleased to have a number of MSPs at the meeting in addition to Graeme Dey and Maureen Watt and we would like to thank Oliver Mundell, Alexander Stewart, Annie Wells and Brian Whittle for their interest.

Particular thanks go to Alan Somerville and Charlene Tait from Scottish Autism for their invaluable help in organising the event.

Event gallery – Scotland

Presentation of The Autism Dividend in Northern Ireland

The plan announced to hold a launch event in Belfast on 14th February was rather disrupted by the sudden announcement of a NI Assembly election on 2nd March. Since all the members (MLAs) would have been in purdah and unable to attend the event, we took a reluctant decision on advice from Autism NI to postpone the meeting. We fully intend to honour our commitment to make NAP a truly UK-wide project and propose a NAP progress meeting in Ireland, rather than a launch, at some date to be agreed.