Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 07 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.
Ms C. Murphy Ms C. Murphy
523. Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science her views on whether autism is a spectrum disorder and the only solution to the needs of each child is an individual spectrum educational environment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4423/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: My Department accepts the view that there is a spectrum of autistic conditions as supported by the two main classification systems that are used by mental health professionals, namely, The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, 1994, ICD-10, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychiatric Association, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, 2000, DSM-IV-TR. It is my intention to ensure that all children, including children with autistic spectrum disorders, ASDs, receive education appropriate to their needs.
All children with special education needs within the primary school system, including children with ASD, have an automatic entitlement to a response to their needs. The special educational needs of children with ASD can be addressed in special dedicated schools, in special dedicated classes attached to ordinary schools, or on an integrated basis in ordinary schools. Decisions regarding the most appropriate model of response in each particular case are based on the professionally assessed needs of the individual child.
Many children at primary school level, with disorders on the autistic spectrum, are capable of attending ordinary schools on an integrated basis with the support, where necessary, of resource teacher and-or special needs assistant services. Where the level of the condition is of a more serious nature, provision is made by way of special schools or special classes attached to ordinary schools. All such facilities operate at a maximum pupil teacher ratio of 6:1 and special  needs assistant support is provided where required.
My Department allocates additional resources to individual second level schools to cater for special needs pupils enrolled in those schools.
Dáil Éireann 614 Written Answers. Special Educational Needs.