Education and children with autism


Sir, – Education editor Carl O’Brien reports that 90 children with autism in Dublin 15 are without school places (News, May 5th).

Each of these children has a neuro-developmental disorder that affects their behaviour, how they communicate and how they process the information from the outside world. The world is a challenging and often unfriendly place for someone with autism.

Before ever reaching school age at all, I wonder how many of these children received any tailored specialist help from speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists. How many receive appropriate input now?

Existing autism services are being sacrificed at the altar of “Progressing Disabilities” , a Government policy that in reality will probably achieve its aim of equity of service in that no child will get any meaningful intervention.

How many of the existing special classes in Dublin 15 are supported by multidisciplinary teams?

How many of these families have any access to day-to-day help and understanding beyond that which parents have organised for themselves?

Each of these 90 children is entitled to a place in school. To ensure they can access and benefit from school needs more than planning from the Department of Education. It requires the Department of Education and the Department of Health to work together to support these children in preschool and school-age years, and indeed into adult life. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.