HC Deb 06 March 2002 vol 381 cc438-9W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what facilities are available in the West Sussex health authority area for children with autism disorders. [39232]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 28 February 2002]: Children with autism will benefit from a range of initiatives we are taking to improve services for disabled children. As part of the quality protects programme, we set new national objectives for children's services which for the first time set out clear outcomes for children and, in some instances, give precise targets which local authorities are expected to achieve. These were updated in "Valuing People".

Disabled children have been made a priority area in quality protects. The last spending review made substantial additional funding available for the children's services grant which now totals £180 million in 2001–02, £220 million in 2002–03 and £290 million in 2003–04. Of this, £60 million has been earmarked for services for disabled children and their families—£15 million in 2001–02 and 2002–03 and £30 million in 2003–04.

Currently in West Sussex, there are a number of specific provisions for children with autism. For example, in the Mid Sussex NHS Trust area, a recently developed Joint Assessment Team to diagnose children with these needs. This includes, a consultant paediatrician, a clinical psychologist, a speech therapist and a diagnostic services. Treatment is usually given in conjunction with education and there are special schools in the area where this joint approach can be implemented effectively.

Another example comes from the Sussex Weald and Downs NHS Trust area, where the Community Paediatric Service runs a child development centre for autistic children who are under five, and work is undertaken with schools who have pupils with these needs. The over fives are dealt with by CAMHS. The trust also works with the Autistic Society to ensure that all treatment is suitable for each individual's needs.