New Autism Study Centre For Wales

A new centre to study autism will put Wales at the forefront of research into the condition, it was claimed yesterday.

More than 20,000 children and adults in Wales have autism, which causes learning and communication difficulties, but many more may be undiagnosed, according to the charity Autism Cymru.

Wales is the first European nation to commit to a national model for delivering high-quality services and research into the brain disorder.

A new chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders based at Cardiff University’s School of Psychology will be set up under the scheme.

University president Lord Kinnock said this would become “a research and operational model for other countries to follow”.

The idea for a new professorship was initiated by Autism Cymru, in partnership with research charity Autism Speaks.

The scheme will be funded by the Welsh Government and Cardiff University. Autism Cymru and Autism Speaks are now seeking further financial support.

Hugh Morgan, chief executive of Autism Cymru, said, “So far we have made good progress towards achieving the £750,000 needed to make the first appointment to the new chair in time for the new academic year in 2008.”