Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


21 September 2007
PN: HSSPS 12/07

Iris Robinson MP MLA, Chairperson of the Assembly Health Committee, in conjunction with Autism NI will lead a delegation of representatives of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership to Washington next week. The visit, which is the initiative of Autism NI, has been given backing by the Health Committee and will involve meetings with a number of US Congressmen and the Autism Society of America. Michelle O’Neill MLA, Deputy Chairperson of the Health Committee and Dominic Bradley MLA, Deputy Chairperson of the Education Committee, will also take part in the visit.

Mrs Robinson said: “There have been calls for specific autism legislation for a number of years and the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, has recently announced an independent review of autism services in Northern Ireland. This review will specifically look at the need for legislation as part of its remit and the Health Committee will take an active interest in the review and its outcome.

The delegation to Washington, which will also include representatives from Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, will provide an opportunity to learn about developments in services for people with autism in the United States and, in particular, to examine the impact of the specific legislation on autism introduced there last year.”

Note to Editor:

Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition which affects an individual in varying degrees of severity with regard to imagination, communication and social relationships. There is no known cure but early intervention, specialist education and appropriate support can help those with autism to live as independently as possible.

Autism NI (PAPA) (Parents and Professionals and Autism) is the leading Northern Ireland autism charity formed in 1989. It supports a network of branches and local support groups across Northern Ireland.

Committee Membership:
Mrs Iris Robinson MP (DUP) (Chairperson); Ms Michelle O’Neill (SF) (Deputy Chairperson); Mr Thomas Buchanan (DUP); Rev Dr Robert Coulter (UUP); Dr Kieran Deeny (IHC); Mr Alex Easton (DUP); Mr Tommy Gallagher (SDLP); Mrs Carmel Hanna (SDLP); Mr John McCallister (UUP); Ms Carál Ní Chuilín (SF); Ms Sue Ramsey (SF)

The Clerk to the Committee is Mr Hugh Farren, Room 412, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 028 90521360 Fax No: 028 90521667

Media Enquiries to:
s Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 02890-521137/521396. Fax: 02890 521961.
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