Celtic Nations Autism Partnership

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Arguably the most significant of Autism NI's partnerships is with the Celtic Nations.  As a founder member along with Autism Cymru, this partnership marked a development in the lobby work of Autism NI. The Celtic Nations Autism Partnership encourages forward thinking on Autism, within and across national boundries. It also supports and promotes the development and implementation of National Strategies and improve the quality of life for people with Autism. The Celtic Nations Autism Partnership develops, maintains and promotes evidence-based practice in the field of Autism.

The Story So Far...

 May 2013

The Northern Ireland Autism Policy Summit 2013 which was facilitated by the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership (CNAP) and sponsored by the DHSSPS and Autism NI, described the policy framework and development of national Autism Strategies currently in Wales and Sctoland as well as initiatives in the Republic of Ireland and England (Adult Strategy). With a focus on shared learning and shared information by all partners, the aim of the Belfast Summit was to consolidate the development of the cross departmental strategy for Autism in Northern Ireland and to support the action planning and implementation phases.

In May 2013, Catherine Maclean from the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership looks at how Celtic nations are learning from each other to develop strategic approaches to Autism. The article is now on the SEN Magazine website.

November 2012

CNAP European Policy Summit (Welsh Assembly Government, Autism Cymru and Autism Europe) took place at EU Parliament in Brussels.

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February 2012

CNAP Scottish Policy Summit (Scottish Executive and Scottish Autism) took place in Edinburgh.


February 2008

The Republic of Ireland Parliament Launch of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership.

The Launch at the Oireachtas was attended by parents and members of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 26th February 2008 who mixed with colleagues from the Dail afterwards at a reception in Leinster House.



November 2007

The Scottish Parliament Launch of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership.

The Scottish Parliament recognition of the Celtics Nations Partnership was celebrated on November 2007 by an event attended by parents from Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as pupils from new Struan Centre for Autism.


 September 2007

The Atlantic Autism Alliance representatives at the Launch in Washington DC in September 2007.

The first business meeting of the Atlantic Autism Alliance was held in Cardiff on 23rd April 2008. The parties (The Celtic Nations Partnership and The Autism Society of America) agreed a programme for 2008/2009.

  • Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the US Congress and The Northern Ireland Assembly.
  • Dialogue between Governments for Autism
  • Strategic and Legislative programmes      

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The Northern Ireland Assembly, US Congress and Autism!lobby_washington.jpg

At the end of September, the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington DC were responsible for a high profile delegation of politicians from the Northern Ireland Assembly who led a fact-finding visit to Washington organised under the auspices of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership and in partnership with the Autism Society of America and the Autism Caucus at Capitol Hill.

Outcomes of the visit were:

  • Launch of the Atlantic Autism Alliance with the joining of the American Society for Autism and the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership. (Home & Away Edition Newsletter)
  • Historic signing at Capitol Hill of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US Congress Autism Caucus and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  • Statement of Support from Senator Hilary Clinton 



June 2007

The Northern Ireland Assembly Launch of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership.

The Northern Ireland Launch of CNAP was held on the 19th June 2007 and was hosted by Dominic Bradley MLA and launched by the First Minister who made a rousing speech in support of the call for Legislation. The event attracted the attendance of the Deputy First Minister and participation of the Ministers of Education and Health.


View Dr Ian Paisley's Speech and Dominic Bradley's Speech at the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership.

January 2007

The Northern Ireland Assembly supports legislation

In January 2007, the NI Transitional Assembly voted in support of legislation for Autism and by the end of January with a Pledge of support from the Northern Ireland Assembly Autism Ambassadors.


The Welsh Assembly recognises the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership

The Autism Societies of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland celebrate the formation of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership to push for legislation across these Islands and to exchange best practice. The Welsh Assembly Launch of the Celtic Nations Autism Partnership on 30 Jan 2007 also marked the Launch of the all Wales ASD Strategy.



In April 2008, The Welsh Assembly Government announced a first year budget of almost £2m to implement the Wales National Autism Strategy and appointed the CEO of Autism Cymru (Hugh Morgan) to oversee this period of critical implementation.

January 2006

 In January 2006 the NI Transitional Assembly pledged to work for Autism and then in June MLAs signed up to a campaign for legislation. In March 2006 Autism NI and Autism Cymru form a historic partnership.

The concept of an alliance between National Autism Societies emerged from the shared experience ofmartin_maginnis.jpg mutual benefit felt by Autism Cymru and Autism NI as they explored and agreed a common mission to Lobby politically to effect real progress for Autism in their own nations.  This shared purpose was celebrated at a reception hosted by the then Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland (Peter Hain).  

The Celtic Nations Autism Partnership (CNAP) title was agreed when the Scottish Society of Autism and later the Republic of Ireland joined this movement for equality and social change through political action.

For further detail follow the link to their website:

Celtic Nations Autism Partnership Website