I am anxious that all children, including children with autistic spectrum disorders receive education appropriate to their needs.
I understand from my officials that the pupil in question is enrolled in a special pre-school class for autism attached to a mainstream school in north Dublin. This class has a pupil teacher ratio of 6:1 and has the support of two special needs assistants. I further understand that ten hours' home tuition per week has been sanctioned for the pupil in question until the end of the current school year.
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.
I understand that the pupil referred to by the Deputy is on a waiting list for the CABAS facility. Applications for enrolment in the CABAS project are a matter for the management of the facility.