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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ABA in Ireland

Tish Durkin writes in The Irish Times:

Initially administered one-to-one, ABA is also very expensive. Moreover, in Ireland, ABA has been poorly explained and thus widely misunderstood. Presumably all this is why, even before winning a landmark 2007 High Court case, the State had all but declared ABA the enemy – and why it is so eager to declare victory now. After three years of negotiations over the permanent status of 13 ABA schools, the DES recently gave these autism-specific education centres only about two weeks to accept or reject the terms under which it proposed to convert them into State special-needs schools.


To its credit, the Government does fund home tutoring for very young autistic children, something that most families could not dream of affording otherwise. Bizarrely, though, the DES conditions this funding on the parents’ hiring ordinary schoolteachers to do the tutoring. In other words, the Government actively pushes for autism programmes to be run by people who most often know nothing about autism. Here again, madness. It’s like the State agreeing to pay for heart transplants – provided they are performed by gynaecologists.