§ Mr. Douglas-Mann
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total number of residential places in schools for autistic children; what is the demand for such places; and what steps are being taken to remedy any deficiency.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I have been asked to reply.
There are about 100 boarding places in schools in England providing exclusively for autistic children. Many other children attend suitable day special schools or units, or boarding or day special schools catering also for other handicaps.
I know of no evidence of a general shortage of boarding places for autistic children though a few, particularly older ones and those suffering from other disabilities as well, are difficult to place satisfactorily. A new local education authority school for autistic children, accommodating eventually 28 boarders in addition to some day pupils, is expected to open in Wimbledon next year.