Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (211, 212)

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

340 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will sanction funding for the provision of a Saplings school in the Dublin area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3013/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

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 which use alternative educational methods for teaching children on the autistic spectrum. Three of the seven are CABAS facilities which use the teaching method approach involving a comprehensive application of behaviour analysis.

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 an application from Saplings, Kildare, for autistic provision in south County Dublin. My officials are liaising with the inspectorate and the National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, in this regard. A response will issue to the applicants as quickly as possible.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

341 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science the action he has taken to provide services and support for persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who are autistic; the assessments which have been made and the action which is planned; if the parents of these persons have been met by his Department or anyone representing his Department. [3054/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. My Department is currently providing funding towards home tuition for the children in question. My officials are liaising with the appropriate professionals regarding the long-term educational needs of the children and further contact will be made with the parents in this regard. To my knowledge, the parents have not met Department officials.