New Clause 1

Part of Autism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 13th May 2009.

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Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Minister of State (Care Services; Minister for the East Midlands), Department of Health 4:15 pm, 13th May 2009

In the good practice guidance, “Autistic Spectrum Disorders”, which the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health published in 2002—my hon. Friend might even have been the Minister at the time, I am not sure—we listed the conditions that might be considered to be on the autistic spectrum: Asperger’s syndrome, atypical autism, Kanner’s autism, childhood disintegrative disorder or Heller’s syndrome, high-functioning autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, and semantic pragmatic disorder. We made it clear in that guidance, and I hope that that gives the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he needs. In future guidance, we can address the approach that he described. We made it clear that it was a tentative list. We stated exactly which disorders should be included in the spectrum. How broadly the spectrum extends is controversial and still debated. The importance of revising guidance to take into account the approaches that he argues for gives us that opportunity. I know that he wants me to use particular words now in Committee. I fear that I will not be able to satisfy him in that regard, but I can say that he has made his point eloquently. When we publish the strategy and the following guidance, he will be able to press his points.