asked Her Majesty's Government:
What strategic planning the Northern Ireland Department of Health has undertaken in relation to behaviour support services for children with autism spectrum disorder under the age of 18 years; and what is the outworking of that strategy in each health board area
The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety's priorities for action 2004–05 required boards and trusts to establish multidisciplinary diagnostic, assessment and early intervention teams to provide for improved life outcomes for around 200 children and young people with autism each year. An additional £0.5 million was allocated to health and social services boards for this purpose.
Health and social services boards provide a range of mainstream and specialist healthcare services for children and adults with autism, including diagnostic assessment services, family support services, respite services, day care services, befriending schemes, mental health services, learning disability services and training for parents and staff in collaboration with specialist voluntary organisations.