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Eleven special classes opened in Dún Laoghaire in 18 months

With investment in special education at an all-time high of almost €2billion, it is welcome news that we are seeing the practical effects of this investment in our communities, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said, “I recently sought an update from the Minister for Special Education on special classes in the Dún Laoghaire area.

“There are currently forty- three special classes for students with autism in mainstream primary and secondary schools in Dún Laoghaire. Eleven of these have opened since the General Election last year, providing placements for an additional 258 students.

“Most recently we received positive news about the conditional acquisition of a space for an additional class and facilities for St. Mary’s Boy’s National School in Booterstown. The impact that will have on the young people with additional needs, as well as the broader community through enhanced inclusion, is enormous. I want to commend the school, its parents and the community for their commitment and advocacy in achieving this.

“The positive knock on effect for students and their families cannot be overstated. Three Early Intervention classes are also included in that number. It is well-known that early intervention is key in the development of a child diagnosed with ASD. It’s vital for the child’s communication and language skills so I’m delighted additional children in the local area are now receiving this additional support.

“Additionally I welcome the new planning structures and procedures put in place by the Department and the National Council for Special Education to ensure sufficient places are made available to meet local needs. A cohesive and flexible response is essential moving forward”, concluded Deputy Carroll MacNeill.