A kindergarten that launched a pilot project aimed at creating an early intervention ‘bridge’ for children with autism has withdrawn official support for the project.
Ros Na Réaltóg, a forest kindergarten in Castlebar, County Mayo, launched its ARK project in September. The project proposes to create a variety of early intervention support ‘hubs’ and play therapy for children alongside early childhood centers. Currently, the school has 30 students.
Center founder Roisin Geddes, a primary school teacher who has worked in special education in the UK for nearly 20 years, said he initially developed and launched the project for three children. But she hopes the comprehensive initial model will scale well nationwide.
“The suggestion is to create a bridge between parents waiting for a speech and occupational therapist and have it all in one place,” she said. , and the lack of service and support, and that’s what we’re trying to offer with this hub: build an extra bridge while parents wait.”
Over the summer, Ms Geddes went through the process of setting up the project with the Department of Education, hiring additional staff and submitting the relevant requested paperwork. Funding was to come through home tuition, a subsidy paid by the Ministry of Education for early education interventions for children with autism.
Ms. Geddes did not apply for additional funding from the Department of Children’s Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), as funding was to come from home tuition.
Three students had no place in school at the beginning of September and their paperwork was “stamped” by the local Special Education Needs Organizer (SENO). However, at the end of October, my parents received a letter saying that accommodation was available in Newport, Mayo.
“As a school, we were told in good faith that we had to process the paperwork so we went ahead, but once the process was complete the funds would be allocated.
“I want my kids to stay and I want my parents to stay. is very difficult to do.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Education said Ros na Réaltóg is a private kindergarten. “The vast majority of children with special educational needs (SEN) who attend early childhood are supported through AIM.”
Ros na Réaltóg was recently approved as a pre-school institution with group arrangements through home tuition offered as an “interim measure only”.
“The Department of Education has not commented on individual cases, but the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has confirmed that there are sufficient early intervention class locations available locally. NCSE.”
The local SENO will continue to be available to families, he added.