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Education And Library Boards

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money has been allocated by the Department of Education in each of the last five years to Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland to address the requirements of those who suffer from autism.[120106]

The Department of Education gives Education and Library Boards a block grant each year from which they fund the various services they provide. Within their block grant Boards establish their own spending priorities and this includes their spending on Special Educational provision. Special Education Budgets do not specify expenditure on particular areas of Special Educational Need and for this reason, it is not possible separately to identify funding allocations for provision for children with Autism.Children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder can receive appropriate provision in Special Schools, Units or mainstream schools. Support in mainstream schools can include classroom assistance, support from ASD Advisory Officers or specialist peripatetic teacher support.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Education and Library Boards use the Applied Behaviour Analysis Scheme for teaching autistic children; and how many children suffer from autism in each Education and Library Board.[120112]

The Education and Library Boards support pupils with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder using a range of methods. These will include aspects of ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis), TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic Children and those with related Communications Handicaps) and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System).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.Figures for the number of children known to the Education and Library Boards to have an ASD are as follows

* :

* As of June 2001. Figures taken from the Task Group Report on Autism.

Education board

Number of pupils

North-Eastern112
South-Eastern276
Southern242
Western145
Belfast194