A Cork family say they were ‘absolutely flabbergasted’ to hear planned autism classes in their local school have been cancelled.
On Newstalk Breakfast Elbha O’Sullivan said her eight-year-old son Cillín was due to start special classes for autism when his school moves into a new building next year.
She said the family had worked hard to organise a plan that would allow him to remain with his siblings and friends at the school – and does not understand why the classes will not be opening.
“We were just absolutely flabbergasted Friday to get a call saying the NCSE (National Council for Special Education) has withdrawn support for those classes,” she said.
“We are in the lucky position that our school has been in temporary accommodation for ten years and is moving in now to a purpose-built multi-million euro building in January with three rooms purpose-built for autism classes.
“It has always been in plans for the school and in fact the NCSE approached the school, asked them to open the classes, and they said they would in February
“I had no inkling at all whatsoever that any of this was in jeopardy until Friday when I got the call to withdraw the offer.”
Ms O’Sullivan said there are no other autism classes for Cillín in the community – and even if there were it would mean uprooting hm from his siblings and friends.
She has “no faith” the classes will open next year either.
“This is a plan we have been working towards with his school for a long time,” she said. “We considered moving schools last year; we knew this was coming, we said we would stay put.”
“We are very happy with the support he gets in school but it is limited because he is in a mainstream class.
“To be honest the NCSE seem to be picking holes in every application they received for these classes so why would I trust they won’t do that again come September.”
Ms O’Sullivan said Cillín was “very disappointed” with the news.
“He can’t understand it,” she said. “He is very disappointed.
“He doesn’t want to move schools. He wats to continue in school with his friends and his siblings.
“I really hope that somebody somewhere can have a look at this again and say there is a new building, these classrooms will open and be empty without staff and without kids if these classes don’t go ahead.
“I hope somebody can have a look and maybe overturn the decision.”
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