asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many places are available in special schools maintained by local education authorities or voluntary bodies which cater solely for children who are defined as autistic in each English region and in Wales, respectively;(2) what statistics are available as to the number of children diagnosed as autistic in England and Wales; and what proportion is being given special education.
There are 51 places available in the four special schools for autistic children maintained by local education authorities, of which two are in the South-East, one in the North-West and one in Wales. There are no equivalent non-maintained special schools run by voluntary bodies for these children, but there are 11 independent schools catering solely for autistic children which provide about 240 places. Other autistic children are educated in units for such children attached to maintained schools, in special schools catering for various handicaps and in hospital schools.Returns from local education authorities for January 1974 show a total of 627 children in England and Wales whose major handicap was judged to be autism. Of these, 34 were awaiting placement and the rest were receiving special educational treatment in various forms.