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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2940..


Students with autism spectrum disorder

(Question No 379)

Mr Wood asked the Minister for Education, upon notice, on 14 June 2001:

In relation to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders who are eligible to proceed to primary school in 2002:

(1) Are statements by parents that at least 16 children are in this category correct.

(2) What advice has been given to parents about their children's education in 2002.

(3) What allocation is on the departmental budget for these new enrolments.

(4) What schools and programs are planned to cater for these children.

(5) Why has there been an increase in the number of children presently in autism units with no increase in staff.

Mr Stefaniak: The answer to Mr Wood's question is:

(1) Indications are that 15 students with a diagnosis of autism will proceed to primary school in 2002.

(2) Counsellors will shortly be discussing placement with parents, and arranging visits to different settings and schools. During the In School Review process in Term 3, specific placement recommendations will be made for each child.

(3) The In School Review proqess will identify the needs for each child. Funding is ailable in the special needs buduet for all children with disabilities.

(4) Students will be placed according to need. Options available are:

special schools;

learning support units; and

mainstream classes with integration support.

(5) Autism units enrol up to six students and are staffed with one teacher and one special teacher's assistant (STA). Schools are able to put forward a case for extra STA support. Extra STA support in Semester 1 is being provided to the Autism units at Latham, North Ainslie and Yarralumla Primary Schools and Belconnen High School. The Weetangera Unit has requested, and will receive, extra STA support in Semester 2.


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