Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (263)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

263. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an ABA school (details supplied) will be permitted to avail of the July education programme for students with learning difficulties or autism; the arrangements that are being made to expand the scheme to all schools catering for children with such conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21372/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

July Provision is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. My Department also provides July Provision for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. Where school based provision is not feasible, home based provision may be grant aided. The school referred to by the Deputy has not applied to participate in the school based programme. I wish to clarify for the Deputy that my Department's position is that as each child with autism is unique, they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs and my Department's policy is to promote a child- centred approach to the education of children with special education including autism. Applied Behavioural Analysis, or ABA, is one of the many approaches used in special classes for children with autism. My Department does not support schools which focus exclusively on one particular approach and therefore the school to which the Deputy refers is recognised as a special school for children with autism. It is not proposed at this time to extend the July Provision scheme to further disability categories. The NCSE is currently preparing policy advice on the education of children with autism which will include a review of July Provision. I expect that the final report, which is to be delivered in the Spring of 2015, will consider the broadest possible range of views and provide recommendations which will assist the development of policy for future years.