Health written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Liberal Democrat, Colchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what cross-departmental work is being carried out by his Department and the Department for Education and Skills in respect of those who have been diagnosed as autistic; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

The Department of Health, in association with the Department for Education and Skills, published good practice guidance on autistic spectrum disorders in July 2002. The guidance was primarily aimed at schools and local education authorities but was also relevant to health and social services providers.

The Government's new strategy for special educational needs (SEN) "Removing Barriers to Achievement", is jointly signed by Ministers from the Departments for Education and Skills (DfES), Health, and Work and Pensions. It sets out a strategy for improving SEN provision, including work focussed on autistic spectrum disorders. The strategy will complement relevant children's programmes, including the children's national service framework (NSF) and the autism exemplar under the NSF. The Department and the DfES will work closely on the development of the exemplar.

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