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Autism Cymru: Jane Hutt AM, Minister for children, education, lifelong learning and skills to launch bilingual autism publications

Autism Cymru - Wales' National Charity for Autism is pleased to announce the formal launch of 'Learning to Play.Playing to Learn' and 'Oh No!, Not Big School!' bilingual information booklets for those living and working with Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff Bay on 4th December 2008.

"Learning to Play, Playing to Learn"

Excerpt from The Children's Commissioner of Wales Foreword:-
'Play is essential for a child's development and an important part of the learning process. Every child has a right, enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to experience quality play experiences. We must, however, recognise that each child has his/her individual needs and these must be recognised and taken into account in the provision of play opportunities. Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder may not respond to play activities in a traditional way because of the difficulties they have with social interaction, communication and social imagination. I welcome the publication of this information booklet produced by Autism Cymru and funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. I hope that it will have a role in informing the further development of play strategies across Wales. It should also prove to be a valuable resource for anyone living or working with young children on the autism spectrum.'

Autism Cymru has formed a Celtic Alliance with Autism NI (PAPA), The Irish Society for Autism and the Scottish Society for Autism with a view to sharing best practice. This booklet has been inspired and informed by the work of Autism NI (PAPA) who have developed a highly successful preschool programme known as The Keyhole® Jigsaw of Early Intervention.

"Oh No, Not Big School"

At the consultation events for the Welsh Assembly Government's Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Strategic Action Plan, parents and professionals expressed concern over the move from the security of a primary school environment to a larger more formal secondary school for youngsters with an ASD. Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, this booklet is intended to help make this process less stressful for young people with an ASD and their families. We are very grateful to Dean Beadle for sharing his experiences with us and offering his support and advice in the writing of this booklet.
Both publications are available for free download at www.awares.org

Maggie Bowen, Autism Cymru, said,
'We are delighted that the booklets have been so well received across Wales and that Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills has given her time to celebrate their publication at a special event at Ty Hywel, Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff Bay.

Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills said,
" Oh! No! Not Big School!' and 'Learning to Play.Playing to Learn' address two fundamental issues - transition to secondary school and the importance of play in the early years, providing sound advice for those both living and working with children with an ASD. I am sure that these booklets, funded by the Assembly Government and published by Autism Cymru, will be of huge benefit across Wales."

Dean Beadle said,
"The primary to secondary transition can be an incredibly difficult time for an autistic child- with new places, people and work bringing a lot of anxiety. This booklet brilliantly demystifies that difficult time; providing simple and effective advice and strategies to make that transition as smooth as possible for the child. I couldn't recommend it highly enough!"
Ends

Notes

1. For further information contact Birgit Villeneuve on 07778 503739
2. The Launch will take place at the National Assembly for Wales at 4.00 pm on Thursday, 4 December 2008.
3. For information on autism in Wales go to www.awares.org.
4. Autism Cymru is Wales' National Charity of Wales with offices in Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Wrexham

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