§ Mr. McFall
Information on autistic children in Northern Ireland is not held centrally and we have no plans to collect such information. It is for Health and Social Services boards and Education and Library to determine the needs of children with autism in their respective areas and work to ensure that these needs are met.
§ Mr. McFall
We have no plans to issue guidance specifically related to children with autism at this time. Guidance on services for children with disability, including those with autism, is contained in "The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 Guidance and Regulations, Volume 5—Children with a Disability" published by HMSO in 1996.
§ Dr. Kumar
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what steps she is taking to ensure that educational authorities in Northern Ireland have sufficient funds to develop new services for autistic children; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) if she will introduce a charter for persons with autism in line with the charter adopted at the fourth Autism European Congress in May 1992; and if she will make a statement. 
(3) what steps she is taking to instruct each education authority in Northern Ireland to provide her with information on the provision of special educational facilities for children who suffer from autism or other forms of early childhood psychosis; and if she will make a statement; 
(4) what steps she is taking to ensure that each child with autism in Northern Ireland receives a relevant educational service; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McFall
Education and Library Boards are required by legislation and funded by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland to assess and provide for all children in Northern Ireland with special educational needs, including autism. Special educational needs assessments are individual to each child, involving the provision of advice to Boards by a range of professionals, and statements of special educational needs are reviewed annually to ensure that the provision made remains relevant to each child's needs. Boards of Governors of schools also have the statutory duty to use their best endeavours to secure that if any registered pupil has special educational needs, the provision which his learning difficulty calls for is made. Provision is monitored by the Education and Training Inspectorate, who report satisfactory levels of provision and priority for autistic children. Information on provision and facilities for all children with special educational needs is readily available to the Department of Education from the education and Library boards.675W
Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland already provide guidance on request in the range of educational services for children with special educational needs, including autistic spectrum disorder.