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(Ireland) SPED increases; "continuing rise in the numbers of kids being diagnosed with ASD"

May 15, 2018, (Ireland) Irish Times: Soft barriers: Why some schools shut their gates to special needs students https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/soft-barriers-why-some-schools-shut-their-gates-to-special-needs-students-1.3489203 … The National Council for Special Education, which conducted the recent study, also found some schools were using restrictive admission policies to deter these students. … While in some cases teachers or schools feel they are not equipped to handle special needs students, others worry that their academic standards might be tarnished. … The Minister for Education will be given the power to force a school to open a special class for children with special needs where it is deemed necessary. In addition, any school that is not oversubscribed must accept all students who apply. … “This year, almost €1.8 billion is being invested in special education, nearly a fifth of the overall education budget.” … The list shows there were about 2.5 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attending a special class at primary level for every place at a secondary school during the school year 2016-2017. … The ratio was a bit better in Cork (81 to 41) and Galway (24 to 13), but by far the worst ratio was in Monaghan, with just one special class for children with autism at a secondary school in the county compared with six at primary level.... “That’s without counting kids who don’t need a special class in primary but do in secondary,” says Manning, adding that about three-quarters of his students fall into this category. There’s also the spectre of a “population bubble” at primary level moving its way into second-level, along with a continuing rise in the numbers of kids being diagnosed with ASD. …