Wednesday, 4 July 2018
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
The position is as outlined in the very last sentence of the reply. The Department supports the use of ABA and training is provided to teachers in its use. The philosophy of the Department's programme for the education of children with autism is a child-centred approach. It is delivered by special needs assistants and fully qualified professional teachers. They draw from a range of autism-specific interventions. They include ABA but they also include a number of other interventions, such as TEACCH and the picture exchange communication system, as well as the appropriate school curriculum with the option, where possible, of a full or partial integration and interaction with other pupils.
The Department recognises there are a range of interventions that can help a qualified teacher to deliver appropriate education for a child on the autistic spectrum. It continues to be led by a professional teacher. What we are doing, and a later question will also refer to this, is looking at proposals to introduce additional therapies to build the capacity of schools to integrate therapies such as speech and language therapy or occupational therapy into education programmes in the school. This would apply whether it be teaching in the autistic spectrum or teaching in mainstream spectrum. ABA is accommodated, and our autism spectrum disorder units use ABA. The teachers have access to training and support in it. They pick and choose from the model as best suits the child.