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Middletown Centre for Autism a valuable resource - Ruane

11 December, 2008 - by Caitríona Ruane

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has said that the Middletown Centre for Autism is already providing a valuable service to children with autistic spectrum disorder.

The Minister was speaking after receiving an update on the work of Middletown which, when fully operational, will be an all-Ireland centre of excellence in the education of children with autism. Middletown is jointly funded by the Department of Education and the Department of Education and Science.

The Minister said:

"Already Middletown has provided important training to around 360 educationalists and health professionals, which they have in turn used for the benefit of children with autism. The centre will also be developing training to meet the specific needs of parents.

"Research into autism will be an important role for Middletown to enable best practice to be shared with parents and experts in the health and educational areas. Next year Middletown plans to begin modelling its educational assessment service for children. This will ensure that the service, when fully operational in 2010, will provide a learning experience tailored to children's specific needs.

"An exciting building and refurbishment programme covering the main complex at Middletown is due to start next year for completion in 2010. This will see the development of residential accommodation for up to 320 children and their families each year to use while assessments and therapies are carried out.

"Middletown is an important joint North/South initiative to improve and enrich the educational experiences of all children and young people with autism. When fully operational it will provide a training and advisory service, a research and information service, an educational and assessment service and a learning support service. Together, these services should prove invaluable to children with autism as well as greatly assisting their parents and teachers working with them." ENDS

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