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Written Answers. - Autistic Educational Facility.

Thursday, 28 March 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 463 No. 5

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 20. Mr. Flood Information on Chris Flood Zoom on Chris Flood  asked the Minister for Education Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  the progress, if any, she has made regarding the implementation of the proposals set out in her reply to a parliamentary question submitted by Deputy Flood on 7 February 1995 concerning the provision of a dedicated educational facility for children with autism; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5433/96]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach I am pleased to inform the Deputy that considerable progress has been made in developing the pilot programme of special education services for children with autism.

I have sanctioned the establishment of three special classes dedicated to the educational needs of autistic children. Two of these classes are already in operation. Plans for the third class are now at an advanced stage and I would expect the class to commence operation shortly.

The classes which are already in operation are attached to the Setanta special school, Beechpark, County Dublin and Cratloe national school, County Clare. The third facility will be established shortly at Ballyowen Meadows special school, Beechpark, County Dublin.

The operation of the pilot programme will be closely monitored and evaluated to ensure that the children concerned derive maximum educational benefit. The experience gained under the pilot programme will provide a basis for the development of a longer-term response to the special educational needs of the children in question.

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