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  • Northside East

Boy with autism has no school place for September

Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017 7:59am
Boy with autism has no school place for September

Aaron Marsh has no school place for September. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Boy with autism has no school place for September

Aaron Marsh has no school place for September. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

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A NORTHSIDE mother is pleading with the Department of Education and Skills to help her find a school place for her son in September.

Ayisha Marsh’s son, Aaron (8), the eldest of her three children, has autism and a moderate intellectual disability.

“Aaron has no school for September due to the lack of facilities for children with special needs,” said Ms Marsh.

“On the advice of a senior officer at the Department of Education and Skills, I applied to seven schools and they are all full. I don’t know what to do now. 

“I’m worried that I’m going to be sitting at home with Aaron for nine months. I’m absolutely drained and it’s taking its toll.”

For the last four years, Aaron, from Kilbarrack, has been attending Scoil Bhride in Donaghmede where he was facilitated in one of two Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Units but he is due to go into third class now and has to change school.

“Due to Aaron’s level of autism he wouldn’t be able for mainstream school,” explained Ayisha.

“He is non-verbal, has sensory issues and has no awareness of danger and could easily run out in front of a car.

“If Aaron has no school for September it will have a devastating effect on his abilities, skills and behaviours which have been dedicatedly worked on over the past number of years.

“As well as this, Aaron has become reliant on school as he is quite reluctant to leave his home beyond school hours.

“I'm afraid he will lose all social skills due to being at home for a year.”

Ms Marsh said she has contacted her local public representatives for help while an official at the Department of Education and Skills is dealing with her case. 

“As a mother of a child with autism, it is very hard,” she said. “All you want is what's best for your children and I feel my son is not being heard.

“He deserves to go to school like any other child. Every child is entitled to an education. It’s disgraceful that there are limited spaces in schools for children with autism. It’s highly unfair.”

Ms Marsh said she’s sure that she is not the only parent in Ireland in this position.

“I'm a very private person and I didn't want to label my son but I've no choice,” she added. “It's the only way he's going to get what he deserves.”

The Department of Education and Skills said it could not comment on individual cases. 

However, a spokesperson for the Department told Northside People: “The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has informed the Department that there is an identified need for additional special class placement(s) in the north Dublin area for the forthcoming school year.

“The Department is working with the NCSE and the relevant education partners in north Dublin to ensure that the required additional special class placement(s) will be available for the forthcoming school year.

“Where there is no placement available, the Department’s Home Tuition Grant Scheme can provide funding towards 20 hours home tuition per week as an interim measure until a placement becomes available.”  

Ayisha Marsh, Aaron’s mum.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here