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Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what mechanisms his Department has in place to ensure the continuity of local education authority services provided to children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome as they make the transition to adulthood. (183401)

The “Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice” (2001) sets out a statutory transition planning process, beginning in year 9, for all young people with SEN statements, including those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health (DH) have recently published “a transition guide for all services: key information for professionals about the transition process for disabled young people” (2007) to help local authorities and others improve the effectiveness of transition planning.

“Aiming High for Disabled Children” (HM Treasury/DCSF, 2007) announced a £19 million Transition Support Programme over 2008-09 to 2010-11 partly to encourage “joint team working across agencies and with adult services to encourage a holistic approach, and choice and control for young people”. This programme will consider the particular issue of continuity of services as disabled children pass into adulthood.

For young people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome in particular, DCSF and DH published “Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Good Practice Guidance” (2002). This includes pointers to good practice for schools, local authorities, Connexions and the Learning and Skills Council on transitions for these young people.