A PENARTH woman has launched a unique new website to support the parents of autistic children in Wales - enhancing Wales’ reputation as a world leader in autsim awareness.

The Autism Directory was set up by Penarth businesswoman, Nadine Honeybone, to support Welsh parents and help them find the services they need.

“In April I had an idea to put together a group made up of autism parents and carers, where they can help and support each other,” said Nadine, whose son Tommy is autistic.

“It's essentially a forum ‘for parents by parents’, where people can find out information on health issues, education, support from local and national groups, financial matters, as well as restaurants, holiday destinations and recreation facilities that are autism friendly.

“The main aim is to be there so that parents do not feel alone.”

Chris Britten, headteacher of Ashgrove School, said: "It’s fantastic to see something new like this coming through in Wales.

“The more support there is for parents, the better.

“Nadine deserves a lot of credit.”

Janet Ryder AM, Chair of the National Assembly Cross Party group on Autism, helped launch the new directory - which has already enjoyed a rapid growth throughout the UK - at Ashgrove Special School in Penarth last week.

“Wales is leading the world in making people aware of this lifelong disorder,” she said.

“We are the first country in the world to develop a National Autism Strategy.

“Many people can mistake an autistic child as just badly behaved if they cry or scream in public.

"Autism is a relatively new disability and, in that respect, little is known of how difficult it can be to live with for both those with autism and those who care for them.

“Parents of autistic children often have difficulties taking their children out for everyday things that most of us take for granted.

“When autistic children require more complex needs, like dental care or a doctor, those visits can become dramatic traumas," she added.

“Mrs Honeybone's initiative is to bring autism parents from right across the country together to share their knowledge, experiences and tips that will, in turn, makes life a lot easier for everyone.”

Nadine added: “At the end of the day it’s up to us to create the future we want for our children.

“As autism parents, we are with it for life.”

For more information vist www.theautismdirectory.com