Progress made on All-Ireland autism centre|
MIDDLETOWN, Northern Ireland: Progress has been made on the long-awaited All-Ireland Centre of Excellence for Autism in Co. Armagh, according to the SDLP Party.
The party's education spokesman, Dominic Bradley, met the Irish Republic's Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hannafin, recently to discuss a number of key cross-border education issues including work by both governments on the new centre in Middletown. The meeting was part of the SDLP's North South Makes Sense campaign.
The Belfast Telegraph newspaper revealed earlier this year that the centre was due to open three years behind schedule. It is now likely to begin to offer services to children and young people with autistic spectrum disorders from Northern Ireland and the Republic from the autumn of 2006.
The four key services due to be offered are a learning support service, an educational assessment service, a training and advisory service and an autism research and information service.
The centre's facilities will include an education centre, residential accommodation, swimming pool and a gym.
Bradley said: "Among a number of cross-border education issues that I raised with the Minister was the development of the centre of excellence in autism at Middletown. I was pleased that the Minister saw this as an important area for North-South co-operation and she was able to inform me that progress has been made on this issue in the last month.
"It is hoped that all will be in place by next summer and that a development plan will then be initialised to facilitate the opening of the centre."
(Source: Belfast Telegraph, November 2, 2005)