Students, parents, and teachers, pictured at the opening PICTURES: TONY KEANE
Parents of the students at the long awaited new autistic unit at St Conleth’s Community College, Newbridge are thrilled with the opening of the facility.
To mark last week’s Autism Awareness Week, parent Gillian Gardner tells what this service means to her family.
“My son goes to the autistic unit in St Conleth’s Community College. Children with autism need structure and routine.
“Children with autism have to be thought things that we learn automatically. They have to be thought how to dress themselves, hygiene ,cleaning, cooking, how to use money etc — Things we take for granted.
“They have very bad social and emotional skills. They need extra time to process things. They don’t like bright lights, loud noises or crowds.
“In the unit they have an excellent teacher (Mrs Talt) and great Special Needs Assistants (SNA) to help them.
“In the unit they have a sensory room were they can go to relax when things get to much and they need to be calm. They have a kitchen to cook in as well as clean up, and do other domestic things. They have their own entrance and exit so that they don’t get upset with crowds.
“They get individual education plans to help them with their classes. They are helped to be integrated into mainstream classes but still have the protection and calmness of the unit if they need it.
“The unit provides them the structure and routine they need every day.
“There are not enough units in secondary schools,” stressed Gillian.