Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (167, 168, 169)

Seán Crowe

Question:

296 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to an application for funding to set up a CABAS school in Shankill, south Dublin; his views on this proposal; when he expects a decision on the funding application to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2684/04]

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Seán Crowe

Question:

297 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the CABAS schools operating elsewhere in the State; and if he will make a statement on this system of schooling. [2685/04]

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John Gormley

Question:

338 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will consider the application for a CABAS school in south Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3001/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 296, 297 and 338 together.

I am most anxious that all children, including children with autistic spectrum disorders receive education appropriate to their needs. There are seven facilities in the State operating on a pilot-project basis and using alternative educational methods for teaching children on the autistic spectrum. Three of the seven are CABAS facilities, whose teaching method involves a comprehensive application of behaviour analysis to schooling approach. A decision regarding the retention of these establishments will be made in light of an evaluation of provision for children with an autistic spectrum disorder carried out by my Department's Inspectorate. It is envisaged that the outcome of the evaluation will be determined and a decision taken on the future of the facilities during the course of the current school year.

My Department is actively considering applications from CABAS, Dublin, for autistic provision in south County Dublin. My officials are liaising with my Department's inspectorate and the National Educational Psychological Service in this regard. A response will issue to the applicants as quickly as possible.