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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 17:35 GMT
Autism website 'first of its kind'
Boy with autism
People with autism and their carers can use the website
A national website resource for people affected by autism has been launched by the Welsh Assembly.

Health Minister Jane Hutt unveiled AWARes, the All Wales Autism Resource, which is believed to be the first national resource website of its kind in the world.

The bilingual internet site provides a helping point for people with autism, their relatives, hands-on practitioners and medical staff.


AWARes is the start of a journey to create the largest online autism community in the country

Hugh Morgan

It has been developed by Autism Cymru to bring together the autism community in Wales.

As well as providing information on autism services throughout Wales, AWARes will give detailed explanations of what autism is, and different treatments and therapies available.

Ms Hutt said the Welsh Assembly Government's strategy for autism would spread good practice across Wales and contribute to tackling social exclusion.

At the launch of the website, she commented: "Work has already begun on the Autism Strategy for Wales, and I am pleased that representatives from Autism Cymru are working alongside the Welsh Assembly Government on this.

"The key areas the strategy will cover include screening, assessment and diagnosis at all ages, children's services, adult services including housing and supported employment.

"The launch of the AWARes website today is an important building block towards the establishment of an all-Wales strategy.

"It is a valuable step in tackling deficiences in the understanding of autism."

The site is planning to host on-line seminars to spread good practice in treatment and to enable parents and others to get answers to their questions through the web.

An on-line library is being developed, which will include video and audio clips of presentations for AWARes by leading figures within the autism world.

Support

Chief executive of Autism Cymru Hugh Morgan said: "AWARes is the start of a journey to create the largest online autism community in the country.

"We are delighted the minister has demonstrated her support for what we consider to be a significant milestone in the lives of those affected by autism in Wales."

It is estimated that about 500,000 people in the UK have varying degrees of autism.

A survey of local education authorities has reported a significant increase in the number of children with autism in schools in the past five years.

People with the condition can have problems communicating with others and in forming social relationships.

See also:

07 Nov 02 | Health
13 Sep 02 | Education
19 Jul 02 | Wales
20 May 02 | Breakfast
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