Crisis in special classes for autistic children in Dublin 15

by Gazette Reporter
0 comment

Labour Councillor John Walsh has called on the Department of Education to act urgently to address a crisis in the availability of places in special classes for autistic children in Dublin 15, following a packed public meeting organised by Autism Dublin 15 in the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown.

 Forty seven children on the autism spectrum need places in special classes in post-primary schools in the next three years, but only five new places are currently available, based on the outcomes of a survey conducted by primary school principals. 

“This is a devastating failure in forward planning by the Department of Education and the shortfall in special classes has caused untold stress and anxiety to parents and children with autism,” the Dublin west representative said.

Cllr Walsh also called on the Minister for Special Education, Josepha Madigan TD, to ensure that Danu Community Special School was properly supported and resourced: “It is scandalous that over two years after Danu became the first special school to be established in Dublin 15, the school still does not have a full time behavioural therapist and the Department of Education has no plans to provide Danu with the same consultancy grant previously received by 14 other special schools who have been able to employ a full time behavioural therapist. The parents in Danu had to fight to get agreement for their school in the first place and both parents and children have now been badly let down.”

Walsh also called on the Department of Education and Education and Training Board to provide a dedicated, purpose built special school for second-level students with autism at the Institute of Horology, Blanchardstown, in line with a recommendation recently made by Councillors for the area: ‘Danu is at capacity on its current site and has no room to expand: but over 35 children in primary schools in D15 will need a Post-Primary Special School place between 2022 and 2025.’ 

The Area Committee for Dublin 15 unanimously agreed a motion presented by Cllr Walsh, jointly with Cllr Mary McCamley and Cllr Howard Mahony deploring the current plans by the Department of Education and Skills and Dublin Laoghaire Education and Training Board to locate Danu Community Special School permanently in the existing building for Rath Dara Community College.

The motion stated that this proposal fails completely to meet the essential educational needs of students in Danu and undermines the viability of Rath Dara Community College and that this Committee calls upon the Minister for Education and Skills and on DDLETB to provide a stand-alone, purpose built and dedicated school for Danu Community Special School, which should be located on the site of the Institute of Horology, Blanchardstown.”

Related Articles