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Written Answers - Special Educational Needs

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 224.  Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  asked the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to a school (details supplied) Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the position regarding the Health Service Executive recommendations compiled after inspection; the position regarding the implementation of the recommendations; if he will provide any proposals he may have regarding the training of teachers in specialised autism units, with regard to primary schools with applied behaviour analysis instruction; if he accepts instruction through ABA is an effective and successful method; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16702/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the Board of Management of the school in question has advised that the recommendations of the HSE report have been implemented in full. My Department remains in regular contact with the school and my officials will continue to monitor the position. My Inspectorate visited the school recently.

The Deputy will be aware that my Department’s policy is focused on ensuring that all children including those with autism can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network. This facilitates access to individualised education programmes, fully qualified professional teachers who may draw from a range of autism-specific interventions, including Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Treatment and Education of Autistic Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) and Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS).

The Deputy will be familiar with the standards associated with qualified teachers, the registration of qualified teachers required by the Teaching Council, the probationary process, whereby teachers are supported and advised by the inspectorate during their first year of teaching. Furthermore the Department recognises that specialised training and continued professional development (CPD) is important for staff working with children with special educational needs and supports the provision of CPD through the Special Education Support Service (SESS) which was specifically established for this purpose. The SESS co-ordinates and delivers a range of professional development initiatives and support structures for school personnel working with students with special educational needs.

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