Dáil Éireann - Volume 521 - 13 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

304. Mr. Currie asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide assistance in obtaining a place for an autistic person (details supplied) in Dublin 22. [16754/00]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): I have asked my Department's inspectorate to investigate and report on the case raised by the Deputy, as a matter of urgency.

Pilot pre-school classes for pupils with autism have been established by my Department in three locations, two in Dublin and one in Cork.

The recently published White Paper on Early Childhood Education sets out the proposed framework for the future development of early education services, including services for children with special needs. My Department has recently completed a range of discussions with interested parties in relation to service development in early childhood education and proposals to advance [312] the measures set out in the White Paper are now being considered.

The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced my intention to establish a task force on autism to examine models of provision for children with this condition and to make recommendations for the future development of services in this area.