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Dáil Éireann, Private Members Business (Fine Gael), 12 - 13 February 2008

"That Dáil Éireann:

  • accepting that the current system of assessment for children with autism is inadequate;
  • noting the co-author of the report of the Government Taskforce on Autism has suggested the Department of Education and Science policy on education for autistic children is misguided;
  • considering that the lack of a suitable appeals process leaves parents with no option other than to pursue education services for their children through the courts;
  • acknowledging the Government's delay in implementing the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 (EPSEN) to provide appropriate education services for children with special needs;
  • noting the Government's refusal to change its policy to consider funding for new Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) centres despite a clear demand for ABA services countrywide; and
  • considering the Government's failure to improve coordination between education and health services in supporting children with special needs despite promises in the Programme for Government 2007 to do so;

calls on the Government to:

  • lay any evidence before the House which supports the suggestion that the current system of education provision for autistic children is suitable for all children, even those with moderate to severe autism who have been recommended one-to-one attention;
  • make specific education services available to autistic children where it has been recommended by psychologists, without delay;
  • introduce the outstanding provisions of the EPSEN Act 2004 according to the National Council for Special Education's (NCSE) proposed timescale for implementation;
  • commit to funding the existing 12 ABA centres in their current format;
  • expand the current ABA pilot scheme of 12 centres to accommodate other projects of a similar nature where they are needed;
  • recognise the qualifications of psychologists currently working in ABA centres;
  • honour its Programme for Government commitment and institute an appeals system without further delay;
  • ensure speech and language therapy and behavioural therapy is made available to all schools with autistic children in attendance;
  • immediately move to enhance cooperation between the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Health and Children to ensure children with special needs receive adequate support in all aspects of their lives from an early age."

- Brian Hayes, James Reilly, Enda Kenny, Bernard Allen, James Bannon, Seán Barrett, Pat Breen, Richard Bruton, Ulick Burke, Catherine Byrne, Joe Carey, Deirdre Clune, Paul Connaughton, Noel J. Coonan, Simon Coveney, Seymour Crawford, Michael Creed, Lucinda Creighton, Michael D'Arcy, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Andrew Doyle, Bernard J. Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Frank Feighan, Charles Flanagan, Terence Flanagan, Tom Hayes, Phil Hogan, Paul Kehoe, Pádraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Joe McHugh, Olivia Mitchell, Denis Naughten, Dan Neville, Michael Noonan, Kieran O'Donnell, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, John O'Mahony, John Perry, Michael Ring, Alan Shatter, Tom Sheahan, P. J. Sheehan, David Stanton, Billy Timmins, Leo Varadkar.

[8 February, 2008]