Written Answers. - Special Education Needs.

Ulick Burke


145 Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will have arrangements made to pay a grant to a person (details supplied) in County Galway to attend a residential school for the blind in Northern Ireland or Britain in view of the fact that these facilities are not available to her near her home or in the State; if not, the way in which he proposes to provide for her education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8270/98]

My Department has not received any request for a grant payment for the purposes suggested by the Deputy. Special provision has already been put in place for this child in the form of: a Perkins Brailler and a Braille'N'Print and printer, support from the visiting teacher service, a special allocation of typing tuition hours, and the support of a care assistant three mornings per week. My Department's inspectorate is currently reviewing the needs of the child in question to determine whether additional supports may be required.

Brendan Smith


146 Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Education and Science the proposals, if any, he has to provide adequate school services for children with autism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8345/98]

Children with autism have access to a range of educational support services. The precise nature of the support provided will depend on the severity of the condition in each individual case.

In some cases, children with mild features of autism are educated in ordinary schools with the support, where necessary, of remedial or resource teachers. Children with more serious needs have traditionally been catered for in a number of special schools, including schools dedicated to children with mental handicap and schools for children with emotional or behaviourial disorders.

In addition, in 1995-96 my Department commenced a pilot programme of special education services for children with autism. The Department has commenced a review of this pilot programme. This review, which is expected to be completed by the end of the current school year, will provide a basis for the development of future responses to the educational needs of children with autism.