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Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 119. Mr. Gregory Information on Tony Gregory Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if he will assist the seven children with disabilities receiving services outside the State; if he will act to bring the services to the families rather than the families having to travel for services; and his views on whether this makes social and economic sense. [26869/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey I am most anxious that children with disabilities should have their needs addressed within the jurisdiction.

Decisions to place children in facilities outside the State are only taken in exceptional circumstances and usually arise because of the very specialised educational or health care or medical needs of the children involved.

The majority of the cases to which the Deputy refers relate to children on the autistic spectrum for whom placements abroad were arranged prior to the formal introduction of dedicated school based services for children with autism at the end of 1998. My Department provides financial assistance towards the costs involved in these placements.

It is open to the parents of the children in question to seek placements for their children in this jurisdiction and to avail of the significantly increased levels of service which have since become available in the special needs area.

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