There will be four new classes for children who have learning disabilities in Kildare next year, with the Minister for Education and Skills promising further investment in the county.
Kildare North TD Bernard Durkan asked the minister 'the extent to which requirements in respect of children with autism are being met in County Kildare' with particular reference to persons previously having difficulty in obtaining a school place.
Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills, responded by outlining how the National Council for Special Education(NCSE) has increased the number of special classes by over 100% from 548 in 2011 to 1,152 across the country now, of which 888 are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) special classes.
Speaking specifically about the level of services available in Kildare, the minister outlined that there would be four extra classes brought on board in the county to help cater for the 942 students who have Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
"The NCSE intend to open an additional 4 special classes in Kildare for the 2017/18 school year, consisting of 1 Primary ASD special class, 2 Post Primary ASD special classes and 1 Post Primary Moderate GLD special class," read the response.
"With regard to Kildare in particular there are 942 students with ASD attending schools in the County. Of these, 520 students attend mainstream schools and are accessing in-school supports including Resource teaching and SNA support.
"322 students are attending 59 ASD special classes, including 6 early intervention classes, 41 primary ASD classes and 12 post primary ASD classes. A further 100 students with ASD are placed in 4 special schools. The number of ASD classes has increased in the area by 24% since the 2013/14 school year."
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