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(Ireland) Dublin: No school places for 15 autistic kids this fall

May 16, 2022, Dublin People: NO PLACES FOR 15 AUTISTIC CHILDREN IN DUBLIN 15 SECONDARY SCHOOLS https://dublinpeople.com/news/northsidewest/articles/2022/05/16/no-places-for-15-autistic-children-in-dublin-15-secondary-schools/

A crisis public meeting is being held this evening to call on the government to intervene in the secondary school placement emergency for children with autism in Dublin 15.

According to the organisers of the meeting, a survey of 100% of principals of primary schools in Dublin 15 has revealed that there are at least 15 children who have no appropriate placement at secondary level this autumn.

The survey also revealed that, on average, a total of 42 places will be required at secondary school for children with autism in Dublin 15 every year – and there is not a single secondary level special class place available for children with autism in the area.

Spokesperson for the Autism School Dublin 15 Group will tell the meeting in the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown that “As parents we find ourselves in an absolutely ridiculous situation that was completely avoidable.

“With the collaboration of principals we know a solution can be found so that the 15 children that we are aware of, who have no appropriate placement at Secondary level this Autumn, can be accommodated as quickly as possible.

“This is now a crisis situation and time is of the essence.

“All of these children and their families deserve to know now that they have a place in a special class in 3 months’ time and where that place will be.”

We are calling on the Government to 1. Arrange a meeting between the Department of Education, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and all the principals in Dublin 15 within the next two weeks. All of the principals together – Primary, Secondary and Special School Principals – have the information needed to solve the problem and actually plan effectively for this and future years. 2. Ensure that there is a standard provision in all special schools nationally for the employment of full time Behaviour support, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. Three new special schools have been opened by the State – two in Dublin and one in Cork – with ZERO additional support; it is beyond comprehension and is reprehensible!. Síle Parsons said that “A special school is not a building filled with additional needs children – the additional supports are what make it special“.

3. Establish a Post-Primary Special School in Dublin 15 as a matter of priority. On average, a total of 9 places will be required at Secondary School level within a special school for children with Autism in the area every year. Limerick City, which has the same size population as Dublin 15, has 5 special schools. The only special school in this area is Danu Community Special School. It is currently at capacity and will not be open to new enrolment for 5 years. And to make matters worse, children in Dublin 15 are now excluded from enrolment in other special schools outside the area simply because Danu exists. The establishment of a Post-Primary special school is now an absolute necessity.

Síle Parsons concluded “The Government needs to take responsibility for this now. “It needs to give the NCSE the clear direction and resources to implement a solution to the immediate crisis and to work with the Autism community and all School Principals to put in place plans to prevent this from happening year after year, after year.

“It has become a form of State sponsored torture for parents of Autistic children.”