To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he plans to take to extend educational opportunities for sufferers of autistic spectrum disorders. 
My Department is doing a number of things to extend the educational opportunities for sufferers of autistic spectrum disorders. We are developing a Special Educational Needs Action Programme for publication in the autumn with the aim of helping all children with special educational needs to realise their potential. Among other initiatives it will promote effective approaches to teaching and learning for children with different types of need including autism.Work on improving opportunities for those with autistic spectrum disorders under the Action Programme will build on the principles set out in the guidance on making provision for children with the disorders which my Department published with the Department of Health last year.The Action Programme will also address obstacles that may be preventing young people with special educational needs continuing their education beyond 16. The Learning and Skills Council when carrying out its functions must have regard to the needs of people with learning difficulties, including those with autism, in part by enabling the provision of appropriate facilities for their education and training.