Full primary school placement for children with diagnosed ASD to be provided at Gaelscoil in Clonakilty

Posted on: 6th May, 2014

Category: Headlines

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: There is a full range of facilities with an occupational therapy hall, two speech therapy rooms, a €43,000 multi-sensory room (pictured above), a para-educational room, two quiet rooms and three specially designed classrooms.

With a reputation for educational excellence and a new state-of-the-art school building, enrolments at Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty have continued to grow each year. Nineteen years after Gaelscoil Chloch na gCoillte opened in a holiday home with one teacher and 20 children, the school now boasts 318 pupils and 32 staff.

What many may not be aware of is that the school also has an Early Intervention Class and Autism Spectrum Disorder Class with exceptional facilities for children with Special Needs. Children from the age of two-and-a-half to 12 years are catered for in these classes in the school. A class dedicated to children from third to sixth class has just been sanctioned by the Department of Education and Skills, which means that from September 2014, a full Primary school placement for children with diagnosed ASD will be provided at Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin – the only service of its kind in the West Cork area.

There are nine pupils in the Special Education Classes at present. Children from 2.5 years are catered for in the Early Intervention Class and Junior Infants to Second Class children in the next class.

“We have facilities for 18 children, six in Early Intervention, six in Junior class and six in Senior class,” explains School Principal Carmel Nic Airt. “All that’s needed for a child to attend is a diagnosis of Autism and a recommendation to be placed in an autism specific setting.”

Each class has one teacher and two special needs assistants with WCCDS regularly providing Occupational and Speech Therapy services.

Services to the children are through to the medium of English. There is a full range of facilities with an occupational therapy hall, two speech therapy rooms, a €43,000 multi-sensory room, a para-educational room, two quiet rooms and three specially designed classrooms. Each child has his/her own dedicated workstation. There is also a shower room, changing area and toilet facilities. Outside facilities include a soft play area that is integrated with the Infant classes. English, Music and Maths lessons are also integrated with mainstream classes.

Carmel explains that a feature shared by many of the children with Autism is that they are non-verbal, therefore communication is a huge everyday challenge. “One of the things we’re most proud of is that one of the little boys, now four, who was completely non-verbal when he started with us a year ago, now uses language to make his needs known. Something in the multi-sensory room triggered his speech, which is now also transferring to situations outside the room.”

For more information call the school at 023-8834882.

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Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

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