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(Ireland) Mother desperate to find autism place for her son in secondary school

Dec 6, 2021, Irish Examiner: Mother in desperate fight to secure suitable school place for autistic son

A mum who has seen how an autism unit changed her son's life has pleaded with the Taoiseach to solve her town’s school site crisis to ensure that her child and others like him get school places in their own town next September. Katie Gould is desperately trying to secure a suitable second level school place for Charlie, 12, in Ballincollig, Cork, which despite its size, has no dedicated autism classes in its two large secondary schools. Ms Gould had hoped that Charlie would attend the Le Cheile secondary school, which opened in the former Cork Film Centre in the town in September, and which was hoping to open an autism unit next year. But the refusal of planning last week for a temporary school for Le Cheile on the grounds of Ballincollig GAA Club has come as a devastating blow, she said…. He said in the wake of the planning refusal, it is clear that the GAA site is dead in the water and the clock is now ticking for Le Cheile which needs to be able to accommodate up to 100 students next September…. “We have 10 months before enrolment in September and that is worrying for the vast cohort of students but it is particularly worrying for students in ASD units in primary school who have no other place in Ballincollig to go,” he said…. Ms Gould said she, and other parents of children with autism in the town, have had to apply to over 20 schools across the county in the hope of securing places for their chlildren next year…. But despite being one of the largest towns in Cork, the two established secondary schools in Ballincollig don’t have dedicated autism units. And any hopes that the recently opened Le Cheile secondary school had of opening an ASD unit next September are now hanging in the balance…. “There are so many other kids who are in the same position in primary schools. “We need to have units in every school, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges need units as well. “The building isn’t the important bit - it’s what goes on inside the building that’s important. “We just need a bit of space. It doesn’t have to be a brick building or fancy, it doesn’t need a hot tub. We just need a space for the people that can help kids like us. “Prefabs are not ideal but it’s better than nothing.”


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