Children with autism are facing big obstacles to get continuing support at school. The Department of Education fails to ensure that every child has continued support when moving from primary to secondary school.
• St. Joseph’s CBS in Fairview has 17 children in need of support services. Only eight of them have the support services of speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, psychological support and psychiatric service, as one would normally expect. Of the other nine, five are on a waiting list and the others are getting no service, with no prospect of any help this year.
• There are 66 others in the wider catchments in Dublin North-East in the same boat.
This is not good enough. These children are already in the system. There is no question that the Department don’t know about them.
St Joseph’s is in an impossible position: What is to happen if there is an emergency requiring the children to have psychological or psychiatric support? There is none available to them. How is the school supposed to continue to cope with that?
There is a lack of joined-up thinking in the Department of Education and Skills. Children with special needs of this kind must not be abandoned after so much was put into their development. The Department is risking a falling apart of the system for want of continuing support services. Every child has a right to support provided according to his needs.