26th June 2002
Training key to better Autism services
Sinn Fein Fermanagh South Tyrone MP, Michelle Gildernew MLA, has said that training is the key to providing better services for autism sufferers and their families.
Speaking at a Stormont conference organised by PAPA (Parents and Professionals dealing with Autism) Ms Gildernew said:
``There is an increased awareness of the issues around autism and has been some progress. We now have a Cross-border Centre of Excellence and a cross-departmental approach. Neither must be allowed to gather dust.
``There has been good progress from the Departments of Health and Education but we now need the Department of Employment of Learning to make sure that there is the training for professionals and parents.
``This an area that has been neglected by previous direct rule ministers. The result has been that hundreds of children and young people have had little or no formal pre-school or formal mainstream educational opportunities.
``This is a matter of social justice. We need individualised training, particularly for health and education professionals.'' ENDS
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