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Autistic Children

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much funding has been allocated for teaching autistic children by applied behaviour analysis in each of the five education and library boards in the last five years; and how many children in each board have been taught by the ABA programme in the last five years. [117790]

It is not possible to quantify the total funding of ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) provision in schools for the last five years, as this cannot be separated from other elements of educational intervention, provided on a day-to-day basis, for children with an autistic spectrum disorder.Education and library boards support pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder in their areas in a variety of appropriate ways. An eclectic approach using a range of methods is used and this accords with the recommendations of the Task Group Report on Autism. These methods will include aspects of TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic Children and those with related Communications Handicaps), PECS (Picture Exchange Communication Systems) and ABA.In addition, all educational psychologists are trained in ABA techniques as part of their degree qualification.The Belfast Education and Library Board and the South-Eastern Education and Library Board are each currently funding four children on specific ABA programmes at an average cost of over £13,000 per child, per annum.