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02nd Sep 2019

Dublin parents are campaigning for a dedicated school for children with autism

Melissa Carton

Back to school is usually an exciting time for children.

Meeting their new teacher, being reunited with friends, getting to break out all their new stationary.

Unfortunately for many children in Ireland heading to school is not an option as dozens of children with autism across the country have been left without any school place.

Parents in Dublin 15, where at least 90 children have no school place, have begun campaigning for a school dedicated to children with autism.


Six schools in the Blanchardstown area have been written to by Education Minister Joe McHugh instructing them to open extra spaces for children with special needs but parents in the area say this is not enough to tackle the issue.

Sile Parsons, spokesperson for the D15 Autism School Dublin lobby group said;

“We are campaigning for an Autism Specific Special School with state of the art facilities to be built. Our committee is comprised of a group of parents who all have children with Autism along with professionals who work with children with Autism in the area for over ten years.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Units within a mainstream school are a wonderful resource for those children who are able to integrate into the mainstream school class and learn amongst their peers, while also having the security of the unit and its staff. However, there are a proportion of children with ASD who have very complex presentations of autism and present with very significant needs.”

Several parents whose children have been left without a school place this year have been featured on the news trying to raise awareness of their situation and help stop the exclusion of children with additional needs.