July 8, 2021, NewsTalk: Schools showing 'humungous' reluctance to set up special classes for autistic children https://www.newstalk.com/news/schools-showing-humungous-reluctance-to-set-up-special-classes-for-autistic-children-1222737
Schools in certain areas are showing “humungous” reluctance to set up special classes for children with autism. New figures from the Department of Education show that 210 children who need special education are being tutored at home because they don’t have a school place. Campaigners are warning that the high numbers of children being excluded from school show that the system is broken. On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Miriam Kenny, the Chair of Involve Autism and mother to an autistic son said it is “exceptionally stressful” for parents seeking special education for their children. Schools Showing 'Humungous' Reluctance To Set Up Special Classes For Autistic Children “If your child has autism and has a recommendation for a special class or special school this is where the difficulty really happens for parents,” she said. “We have lots of schools that support autistic children very well in the mainstream setting but there is a cohort of child that it is recommended by a psychologist for that child to be in an autism special class or in a special school and herein lies the problem – how do you get a place for your child?” Support She said parents get “very little support” from the State right through from the moment their child is diagnosed with autism – and many do not know where to turn. “We would have parents in our area who would have applied to up to 30 schools to try and find a place for their child – and might or might not have been successful,” she said. While families are offered a Home Tuition Grant to educate their child at home, they are left to source their own tutor and manage the situation themselves. “There is nobody overseeing that,” she said. “If you are not involved in education, how do you really know what is being delivered there?... Ms Kenny said the Dublin 6 and Dublin 6W area had just one school offering one autism class when she launched the Involve Autism campaign…. The Government has said all new schools will have to provide for children with special needs from this year onwards.