A father whose autistic son has not been allowed to repeat a school year has said the State has shown him ‘no care or empathy’.
Nigel Killian’s son, Elliot, was absent from school between 2021 - 2022 and was home schooled during that period by his mother.
The family hoped he would be able to repeat a year in his local primary school but were informed there was no space for him to do so.
“When he was returned to school, he had missed out on all of fifth class and a portion of sixth class,” Mr Killian told Lunchtime Live.
“So, when he was last in school, he had fully completed fourth class; so, any self-respecting individual would consider that the child should have been returned to fifth class - but he wasn’t.
Since then Mr Killian has endured “sleepless nights” and has been unable to convince officials of the necessity of his request.
“I was passed around from pillar to post,” he said.
“I contacted the Department, they told me it was a matter for the school. I contacted the school and they said it was a Departmental matter.”
Transition to secondary school
Mr Killian describes Elliot as a “bright, articulate child” and have enrolled him in a private school for children with special needs at a cost of €3,300.
The family is now concerned that he has missed an assessment on his needs for secondary school and are contemplating having to pay for one themselves.
“I may have to come up with another €4,000 or €5,000 to get a private assessment… from an educational psychologist to get the child the supports he’d need to go to secondary school,” he said.
“I can’t say hand on heart what my child needs to go to secondary school; it’s the professionals who are best placed to do that and the school itself.
“Maybe Elliot could need other supports?
“I just feel as a citizen of this country, there has been no care or empathy shown towards me.”
Main image: School children. Photo: Arne Dedert/dpa