Cardiff - Autism centre gets go-ahead

11th June 2010 at 01:00

A dedicated unit for autistic children in Cardiff has been given the go-ahead by the Assembly government. The new Marion Centre for children with autistic spectrum disorder will be built alongside the Bishop of Llandaff High School.

Construction is expected to start in September 2011, and the centre will initially accept pupils aged between 11 and 19.

The final decision was made by education minister Leighton Andrews, despite a number of objections to the proposals.

Freda Salway, executive member for education at Cardiff Council, said the centre was the first step in an "exciting new future" for pupils with autism in the Welsh capital.

"As well as providing extra help in areas of communication and social skills, this centre will give children with autism a new, dedicated unit, specialising in their education needs."

A report published last month by the Assembly's enterprise and learning committee uncovered a "major gap" between autism policy and provision. The cross-party committee took evidence from a number of families affected by the disorder and found that autistic pupils in Wales faced a number of barriers including patchy provision and poor communication.

The report also revealed that 75 per cent of schools surveyed felt there was a lack of adequate local help available for pupils with the disorder. DE.

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