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(Ireland) Tipperary schools lack autism units; 'it's a new world now'

July 4, 2022, Nenagh Guardian: Calls for more autism units in Tipperary’s schools

Local representatives have called for a greater provision of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) units in Tipperary schools.

At the June meeting of Tipperary Co Council, Cllr Seán Ryan spoke of a “deficit” of ASD units catering for the needs of local children. In support, Cllr Michael O'Meara said many of the units in the county are under pressure.

He told the meeting that schools find it hard to get and keep special education officers or SENOs (Special Education Needs Organisers). The educational requirements for these officers are “huge”, Cllr O'Meara said, outlining how people with masters qualifications cannot get work as a SENO, though they can abroad. He wanted the council to engage with the Department of Education about the situation….

Cllr Ger Darcy agreed that more ASD units are needed. Education is changing now with the introduction of Community National Schools and the increasingly multinational makeup of children in classes.

“It's a new world now,” Cllr Darcy commented, saying there needs to be more education and training for people who volunteer to serve on school boards of management. Having served on the board of management in Borrisokane for 15 years himself, Cllr Darcy said the role comes with a lot of responsibility, which many people do not realise.


The councillors made their comments during a presentation on the Community National School model by Bernadette Cullen, CEO of Tipperary Education and Training Board. Ms Cullen described the resourcing of special needs education as an “ongoing concern”. All Tipperary ETB schools have ASD provision, with other sectors to a lesser extent. She agreed that many schools do not have the SENOs that they require….

Cllr Seán Ryan spoke of a ‘deficit’ of ASD units catering for the needs of local children.


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