Autism is a complex, invisible condition which a person is born with. Autism is a developmental condition which means that the way a person communicates, interacts and understands other people, and the world, is different to those who do not have the condition. It can be described as a “spectrum” which means it impacts different people, in different ways, to differing degrees at different times and in different situations.
The Schools Vision:
Mainstream classes aren’t always the best setting for a child with Autism. Depending on the needs of the child, a special needs school may be more suitable to provide the level of support required. Alternatively, some students may be able to attend an Autism Class within a mainstream school which will allow them to integrate into a mainstream school community, participate as far as possible in the curriculum, but with additional supports and resources in the areas they find difficult to cope with. This is our aim in St. Mary’s National School, Croom.
The advantage of special classes or Autism classes within a mainstream school is that the child with Autism still has the opportunity to interact with local children who do not have the condition. Equally, it means that the child will have access to a mainstream class and integration or transition overtime should be easier than if a change of school was required.
The advantage of special classes is that they have a much lower pupil-teacher ratio and may also receive a “baseline” level of SNA support. Additionally, an Autism class provides the opportunity for students to follow the curriculum at pace and level appropriate to them and to participate in mainstream activities and classes where they are able.
In Croom we very much believe in the model of integration between our Seomra Áine (ASD class) and the rest of the school. We provide opportunities for students to integrate in class activities, through programmes such as LEAF, VEX-Robotics and STEM Roots, and also through individually timetabled visits back to the mainstream class.
We believe in constantly up-skilling as a staff in the area of Autism as we look to provide each student with a happy and fruitful primary school education regardless of diagnosis.
Our Seomra Áine 1 opened in September 2018 with our Seomra Áine 2 due to open in September 2019.
Planting as part of the Green Schools Team
Vex Robotics Programme