Fianna Fáil TD in Dublin Fingal, Darragh O’Brien has secured a commitment from the Government to establish an Autism Unit in both of the newly planned secondary schools for the Malahide/Portmarnock and Swords area.
Speaking amid confirmation, Deputy O’Brien said, “I am relieved to have learned that the Department has been liaising with the National Council for Special Education in respect of the appropriate level of special education provision.
“Mainstream classes are not always the best setting for a child with Autism and considering that 1 in 65 Irish school children are now diagnosed with the condition, it is imperative that we appropriately cater for their needs. Such a unit will improve the quality of life and educational advancement of students who would use the unit by providing intensive and sustained special education programmes to pupils.
“For some students to be able to attend an Autism Unit within a mainstream school it will allow them to integrate into a mainstream school community and participate as far as possible in the curriculum, but with additional educational and therapeutic supports in the areas they find difficult to cope with. Units of this kind are critical in amalgamating all our student structure.
“I have also been assured by Minister Bruton that the two new schools in question will be established in September 2017 in order to meet the increasing demographic demand, “added O’Brien.