Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (334)

Finian McGrath

Question:

334. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will respond to correspondence (details supplied) regarding autism. [31955/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I previously advised the Deputy that the Home Tuition Scheme is not operated in an inequitable manner. The case which is referred to by the Deputy does not constitute an inequitable arrangement. If parents of pupils eligible for home tuition approach my Department with proposals to either collectively provide the tuition for their children in a group setting or to approve a direct payment arrangement, it would be unreasonable for my officials not to consider them on their merits. The Home Tuition scheme is not intended as a long term placement option for children with autism. The preferred policy of my Department is that children with autism are educated in school settings where children may have access to individualised education programmes (IEPs), fully-qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants, the appropriate school curriculum with the option, where possible and appropriate, of full or partial integration and interaction with other pupils. The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years.