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(Ireland) W. Cork: School keeps special preschool; caters to 24 autistic students

Mar 2, 2022, Irish Examiner: West Cork school to keep its early intervention autism unit https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-40819635.html

A West Cork school is to keep its pre-school early intervention autism unit after plans to scrap the support were dropped. Campaigners, politicians, and parents had feared the closure of an early intervention class in Kilbrittain National School would be the "first casualty" of a phased countrywide policy change. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) recently contacted the school to advise that it had “re-designated” its early intervention class for toddlers to an additional autism spectrum disorders (ASD) special class for older children. This would have increased the number of ASD special classes in the school to three from the current two classes. However, it would have left the school with no early intervention class from next September despite the fact it has enough children enrolled for next year. It is understood that, having reviewed the matter, the NCSE has now given approval to the school for the retention of the class for 2022/2023. Kilbrittain NS principal Karen O'Donovan told the Irish Examiner: “It is wonderful news. We will now be able to cater for 24 autistic children from preschool to primary. “We look forward to welcoming existing and new families into our school and will continue to provide an inclusive education for all in our community…. New special class In addition, a new special class is being opened by the school to cater for children transitioning from this year’s early intervention class…. "We know, right across this country, there's a real shortage of appropriate supports for autistic children," he said. "We're talking about people not being able to access therapies for [up to] seven years."