Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
259. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the early education supports available to children with autism; and the reason children who are diagnosed with autism cannot avail of early education through the ECCE scheme in conjunction with one-to-one home schooling by a home tutor. [27559/16]
AIM, which is a new programme of supports to enable children with a disability to access and fully participate in the free pre-school programme, is administered by Pobal on behalf of this Department. The degree of support provided will depend on the needs of the child in the context of the pre-school service. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme is provided for 3 hours per day for 5 days per week. AIM was introduced in September of this year and the support provided under the Scheme will benefit children with a range of disabilities, including Autism. AIM encourages children with disabilities to attend mainstream pre-school where they can socialise with their peers.
The Home Tuition grant is administered by the Department of Education and Skills to provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of specific reasons, are unable to attend school.
Children can avail of the ECCE Programme on a pro rata basis. However, the maximum number of combined hours which can be availed of under the two schemes is 20 hours per week for children over the age of 3.