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New Joint Committee on Autism to discuss Autism Policy and Education with National Council for Special Education at first public meeting

27 Jun 2022, 15.30

The Joint Committee on Autism will hold its first public meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, 28 June, to discuss Autism Policy and Education with representatives from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

The meeting at 12:00 in Committee Room 4 of Leinster House will hear from John Kearney, Chief Executive Officer of NCSE; Paula Prendeville, Policy and Practice, Principal Officer; and Mary McGrath, Operations, Principal Officer.

Committee Cathaoirleach Senator Micheál Carrigy said: “Following debates in the Dáil and Seanad, the Special Committee on Autism was established earlier this year with support across both Houses to consider matters relating to the services and supports provided by the State for autistic people. For the last two months we have been meeting in private session to identify the key policy areas where we can make valuable recommendations in our final report and to prepare our work programme.

“Over the next nine months, the Committee will sit in public and hear from key stakeholders as we examine policy, the implementation of policy and the legislation relevant to autistic people. We look forward to hearing from autistic people, their friends, their families and representative bodies, as well as ministers, Government departments and agencies, to assess the current state of services for autistic people, the barriers that autistic people can face when dealing with the State and how we can make improvements in these areas.

“Our first meeting is with the NCSE to discuss autism policy and education and we look forward to a wide-ranging discussion with Mr Kearney and his colleagues. In the coming weeks we plan meetings on the same topic with the Minister of State at the Department of Education with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan, followed by the Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and at the Department of Health, Anne Rabbitte, and Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm.

“Later in the year we will examine other issues including relevant legislation, assessment of need, poor access to assessment and intervention, and the effectiveness of special classes and inclusion. The Committee plans to report to both Houses of the Oireachtas by the end of March 2023, in time for World Autism Day on 2 April.”

The Joint Committee on Autism has 13 Members, eight from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

The meeting in Committee Room 4 can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

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