15. Mr. Compton Carr
asked the Minister of Education what steps he is taking to enable education authorities to 1481 ascertain the size of the problem of autism in children in their respective areas.
§ Sir E. Boyle
Psychiatrists working in child guidance clinics are trained to recognise autism and other forms of psychosis, as are school medical officers qualified to examine children who appear to suffer from a disability of mind. The first need of the psychotic child is medical attention. This is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health. It is not yet possible to assess the extent of the demand for educational facilities.
Mr. Compton Carr
Is my right hon. Friend aware that education authorities which are already willing to assist in this matter maintain that it is a very difficult task for them to undertake on their own? Is he willing, when they express the need for assistance in ascertaining the size of this problem, to give them some assistance by the Ministry?
§ Sir E. Boyle
Local education authorities which provide educational facilities for these children clearly need to work in very close association with hospital authorities. Teachers provided by L.E.A.s are employed at the majority of existing hospital units for the care and treatment of psychotic children. However, I will bear in mind the point my hon. Friend has made, but this is essentially a matter for co-operation between the education services and the Health Service.