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  • Northside West

Autism school group to meet with officials

Thursday, 25th April, 2019 8:00am
Autism school group to meet with officials
Autism school group to meet with officials

THE National Council for Special education (NCSE) is to meet with parents in Dublin 15 who are calling for an autism school in the area. 

A Department of Education and Skills spokesperson told Northside People the NCSE, which is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special needs, will meet with the parents “in the coming weeks.”

The Autism School Dublin 15 Committee, made up of parents and experts in autism, recently carried out a survey that found 68 percent of local school principals believed they had students who would be better placed in an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Specific school.

The committee renewed their call earlier this month on Autism Awareness Day, which they say should be Autism ACTION Day.

“We are really tired of hearing the platitudes and well meaning, sympathetic words from those with the power to end the relentless torture that we, as parents of children with Autism, have to endure on a yearly basis, simply to find a place for our children to receive an appropriate education,” said committee member, Síle Parsons, on behalf of the group.

“Usually, parents of atypical children have to find a place for their child of school going age just once or twice in that child’s 18 years of primary and post-primary education.

“A growing number of parents who have children with autism are forced to do so every year because of the inadequate number of places in autism units in mainstream schools and the fact that, in a large proportion of cases, those units cannot cater for children with complex presentations of autism.

“This tortuous process  can only be described as a form of state sponsored cruel and unusual punishment. And we have had enough of it.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills said it was aware of the demand for additional special class and school placements in the Fingal area of Dublin.

“The NCSE, an independent agency of the Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs,” the spokesperson said.

“The council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

“The NCSE’s team of locally based special education needs organisers (SENOs) is available to assist and advise parents whose children have special needs and identify available placements.

“The team also supports and advises schools in this area.

“Parents who are experiencing difficulties in locating a special class or school placement should contact their local SENO.”

The Department of Education added that the NCSE is actively engaging with stakeholders involved in the provision of services for children with special educational needs in Dublin, to ensure each child has a school placement appropriate to their needs for the 2019/20 school year.

“As part of this process, the NCSE has advised that they will meet with the parents’ group in Dublin 15 in the coming weeks,” the spokesperson added.

 “Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make an application to the National Council for Special Education to establish specialised provision.”

Autism School Dublin 15 is organising a public meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown on Monday, April 29, at 8pm to raise awareness of its campaign.

The group is calling for support from anybody with a family member with autism or those working with autistic children as well as local politicians who are invited to attend.

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