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(Ireland) Autistic twins with "profound needs" still haven't started school despite apology

Mar 23, 2023, Irish Examiner: Autistic twins have still not started school despite state apology

Autistic twin boys who received a state apology over failures to secure a place in a classroom to cater for their profound needs have still not started school.

Ryan and Kyle Milne will mark their 12th birthday today at home with their parents despite promises from the government last year that the children would start school in September.

The boys from Glasnevin in Dublin made national headlines when their parents Gillian and Darren highlighted their seven-year battle to have them educated.

Last May, former Taoiseach Micheál Martin publicly apologised to the family saying it was “not good enough” that they had not been to school.

Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan confirmed places would be found in a suitable special school from September.

Apart from a brief spell at a school in 2017, which had no specialist care for the children, the twins have not seen the inside of a classroom since.

Gillian said: “I am done with education for the boys. I just cannot take anymore. There are too many broken promises and too many meetings, emails, and paperwork and all the stuff I am supposed to deal with as well as trying to look after my boys at home. It is impossible”.


The children have been receiving a grant for intermittent home tuition which involves a tutor whom they have formed a trusting relationship with over the past nine years.

However, Gillian said the new school, St. Michaels, has refused to allow the tutor to be involved in the boys' transition from homeschooling into the classroom.

She said detailed discussions over several months last year with Ms Madigan and her advisor made provisions that included the tutor’s help in settling the children into a new environment.

Gillian said: “The boys were at home for 12 years; they are obviously very reliant on myself and Darren and their tutor. They have massive separation anxiety. Aside from our parents, the boys only know their home tutor, so in their best interests and to help with the transition it was vital that she be involved in the classroom with them for a short while.

Gillian and Darren Milne with their sons George, twins Kyle, left, and Ryan, 12. Picture: Moya Nolan

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