Colin McGrath supports mandatory autism training for educational staff

SDLP release:

SDLP Chair, Colin McGrath MLA has supported a cross party motion today, calling on the Minister for Education to explore introducing mandatory autism training for teachers and classroom assistants.

Colin McGrath supports mandatory autism training for educational staffThe South Down MLA:
“I welcome this motion brought forward in the Assembly this afternoon. The SDLP has campaigned for many years in favour of increased autism support, culminating in the Autism Act in 2010. The potential of that Act has been compromised by a lack of financial support and three years without ministerial decision-making. This motion is a welcome opportunity to debate this issue and finally provide some much needed support for families across the North.”

“Approximately one-eighth of the entire yearly education budget, circa 270 million, is spent on supporting children with special education needs, including autism. According to the Children’s Law Centre, the number of parents experiencing difficulties in receiving support for their children has increased exponentially. This is more evidence, if it was ever needed, that we urgently need to act on this issue.”

“This issue affects all of us. It would be a powerful message to send to families the North who struggle every day, to receive the support they badly deserve, if we were to support this motion and take this work forward. I look forward to working with the Minister for Education to deliver it.”