Armstrong: Lack of autism training for teachers is worrying

Kellie Armstrong MLA has described revelations that the Education Authority has no idea how many of its teachers hold up-to-date autism awareness training as ‘extremely worrying’.

Well-known for campaigning for better investment in autism services, The MLA for Strangford added she was ‘shocked’ at the ‘lax attitude’ of both the Education Authority and the Middletown Centre for Autism on the issue.

Kellie Armstrong said: “I’m completed shocked to learn training records are not being held and ongoing professional training is not being monitoring on something so important as Autism.

“Given this slack attitude I fail to understand how the Education Authority and the Middletown Centre for Autism can confidently say it is working effectively to meet the needs of children with autism.

“Not only does it mean that a recognised standard of training for teachers is not being checked and updated, but that training standards are not being maintained and yet again a disservice is being done to children and families with autism.

“With the number of cases of children with autism on the increase, simply sitting back and letting things tick along as they are is simply not good enough. The Education Authority and the Department of Education must show how serious they are about this issue and rectify this situation immediately.

“I’ll be monitoring this situation and continuing to push for better services for children with autism and their families.”

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