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New site for autism research

01 Ebrill 2010

The Wales Autism Research Centre teamThe Wales Autism Research Centre team

A new website supporting the work of the University’s Wales Autism Research Centre goes live today, World Autism Awareness Day.

The Research Centre, based in the School of Psychology, has been established to advance scientific understanding of autism and bring about positive change for the individuals and families affected by the disorder. The Centre will research new areas in identification, diagnosis, development and treatment.

The new website, at , gives information about the team, new research initiatives, and opportunities for families to get involved in the research. It also directs families to the support which is available for autism.

Professor Susan Leekam, Director of the Wales Autism Research Centre, said: "An important goal of the website is to promote research internationally and to highlight the place of Wales on the world autism research map. The website will also help us to communicate with local parents and individuals who are affected by autism. Through the website we can connect researchers to families and professionals and through this communication move towards a better understanding of the origins of autism and the most effective interventions."

The Wales Autism Research Centre was established with support from two charities, Autism Cymru and Autistica, and from the Welsh Assembly Government as part of its Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan.

The Centre already has a number of projects under way. It is examining a diagnostic tool for autism, which involves looking at how far sensory problems can predict other features of the disorder. The team is contributing to a training programme for teachers in mainstream schools in Wales. The researchers will also work with neuroscientists at the University’s pioneering Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) to learn more about the biological origins of the disorder in the brain.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s strategic action plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Uniquely, the Wales Autism Research Centre works with practitioners and government policy makers within this action plan to integrate research evidence with policy and practice. It also aims to raise public awareness of autism, and break down some of the myths surrounding it. As part of World Autism Awareness Day, events will be taking place across Wales, including special assemblies in schools, to raise awareness of the disorder.

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