Thursday, 6 February 2014
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Services Provision
65. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will respond to the recommendation of the Ombudsman for Children who in October 2012 called for the issuing of a policy document on educating children with autism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6045/14]
In correspondence with the Ombudsman for Children, my Department was encouraged to issue a comprehensive policy document on educating children with autism. This reflected a proposal which my Department made last year to bring together all of the facets of the policy on the education of children with autism into one document which was intended to bring further clarity to my Department's policies in this area.
However in the interim I requested the National Council Special Education (NCSE) to bring forward new policy advice on the education of children with autism. The NCSE have advised my Department that the Policy Advice will be delivered in the spring of 2015 and will draw upon findings gathered from an extensive consultation process which has already commenced. The advice will also draw upon the research commissioned by the NCSE as well as any other research which may be available and which the NCSE considers merits consideration.
It will be open to all interested parties to contribute to the consultation process and I expect that the NCSE final report will reflect the broadest possible range of views and provide recommendations which will assist the development of policy for future years. In the light of this development I see no merit in revising the existing format of the current policy in advance of the publication of the new policy advice.