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(Ireland) Wexford elem school opens autism unit; 2 staff/10 students

July 7, 2023, Independent: Celebrations at Co Wexford primary school with opening of new autism unit

Excitement was high at Ballymitty national school in Wexford as a brand new building for the use of all pupils including those attending An Choill autism unit, was officially opened.

Three students from sixth class opened the ceremony, introducing principal Audrey McCarthy who thanked the parents, board of management and especially the staff for their support in the building of the new facility.

Emphasising the importance of “celebrating the building of this wonderful resource”, she spoke about the lack of resources for parents and pupils when it comes to occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, psychiatry and speech and language therapy and asked the question: “Apart from schools, who is looking after children with anxiety?”

Welcoming local public representatives to the launch, she mentioned a new proposal which she has sent to the Minister for Education, called the BEAM project (Boosting Education at Middle School) which aims to put a class in place with 10 pupils, one teacher and one Special Needs Association (SNA), to give them a boost in middle years classes.

The principal said these pupils have suffered due to Covid and resources need to be put in place for them before it’s too late, adding that other pupils with diagnoses such as ADHD need special classes too.

She outlined the successful Erasmus project which is ongoing in the school and said that staff hope in two years time to be able to secure extra funding to bring pupils with autism to visit European schools.

The entire population of the school joined in a beautiful rendition of What a Wonderful World, using Lámh communication signs – Lámh is used to support children with education needs in Ballymitty NS.

Staff and pupils of An Choill read the story of how the school has developed since it opened the first Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) class in September 2018. The emotional piece met with appreciation by all the parents and guardians in attendance….

The new building was blessed by Bishop Ger Nash who spoke about the importance of a facility like this in a community. He assisted four of the original pupils in the autism class in officially opening the premises….


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