§ Mr. Welsh
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what sums were spent on educational facilities for autistic children in Scotland in each year for the past first years; and what future plans exist in this regard;
(2) how many autistic children there are in Scotland; and what provisions exist for their education.
§ Mr. William Ross
Autism is not a clearly differentiated handicap and is not one of the nine handicaps statutorily defined as requiring special enducational treatment. Provision is made for children with severe communication difficulties in a variety of ways. Some can be provided for in ordinary schools; others are in special schools, junior occupational centres and special units. There is in general no difficulty in obtaining placements for such children, but since most of them are provided for in establishments serving other purposes as well, comprehensive information is not available about their number or about total expenditure on their education.