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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 17:34 GMT
Family's bid for autism tuition
Courts image
An autistic child's parents have gone to court in an attempt to force their local education board to fund one-to-one tuition for their son.

The High Court heard that five-year-old Johnny Nolan has to be taught at home because no school in Northern Ireland can provide the education he needs.

The boy, from Holywood, County Down, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2003.

The judicial review was adjourned for further clarification.

Tuition bills

Parents of autistic children face bills of up to 25,000 a year to have them taught at home.

Last August, the South Eastern Education Board refused to fund a programme of Autism Behavioural Analysis (ABA) for Johnny.

The court was told on Tuesday that there is no school which specialises in teaching autistic children like Johnny in Northern Ireland.

Adjourning the judicial review for clarification, Mr Justice Morgan said the fundamental question was whether the board had a policy of not funding home-based ABA in August 2004.

"If they had that policy there is no justifiction for it," said the judge.

"It is a straightforward issue, either they had it or they had not. If they did they are in difficulties - if not then the applicant is in difficulties."

This is the first of seven court cases aimed at forcing education boards to fund specialist teaching for children with autism.

Family's landmark autism victory
06 Oct 04 |  Northern Ireland
City hosts autism conference
26 Mar 04 |  Northern Ireland


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