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(Ireland) Cork: Parents call for autism/SPED school

Jun 15, 2022, Irish Mirror: Parents launch campaign to build special needs school for kids in west Cork https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/education/parents-launch-campaign-build-special-27241803

A campaign is underway to build the first special needs school in west Cork. Parents Emma Howlin, Laura O'Mahony and Emily O'Driscoll are behind the groundbreaking initiative.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Emma O'Driscoll said that it's "difficult for children to travel for two to four hours every day to Cork city for their education.

"We are campaigning for a special school to be built down here. So currently, in the massive area of West Cork, we have no special schools….

The campaigners are hoping to build a school for children aged from five to 18. Laura O'Mahony is a mother of a child with autism and speaking to the Mirror, she said that her five-year-old son is entirely nonverbal…. . "He was banging his head off the concrete floor, biting, scratching; he's so angry. It was just a horrendous period, absolutely horrendous tempered the school could not cope with it at all."

She said that the school has no experience with children like hers, especially since the unit is new: "The teacher had been a mainstream teacher and had been pushed into the special needs section. And that's happening all over the controller for the county as well."

Her son was attending for a maximum of one hour a day with no development.

She added: "He was doing nothing. Not progressing whatsoever.

"It just got to the point where I told my husband that we can't do this anymore. And we have to pull him up. And it was a tough decision because we know how hard it is to fight to get to those places. And every single year, you have to reapply.

"So we pulled him out, even though we had nowhere to take him at."

Later on, the parents found a private place in Cork city that deals with behaviour issues.

She said that her son had been attending since December last year. He's doing well despite the distance between their house in Clonakilty and Cork city….

Emma Howlin, Laura O'Mahony and Emily O'Driscoll, three mothers from Clonakilty, are campaigning to build special needs school in West Cork.