Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Education on ASD Units in Tipperary

Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the plans in place to develop
Autism Spectrum Disorder units at Primary and Secondary Level Schools in
Clonmel, County Tipperary; the numbers of those diagnosed with an Autism
Spectrum Disorder in County Tipperary; the number of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Units in Tipperary and their location and capacity; and if he will make a
statement on the matter.
– Mattie McGrath.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 19th July, 2016.
Reference Number: 22506/16


Minister Richard Bruton

The Deputy will be aware that this Government is committed to ensuring that all
children with Special Educational Needs, including those with autism, can have
access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school
settings through the primary and post primary school network.

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which
may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by
fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs
Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.

There are approximately 14,000 students with ASD in the school system.
• 63% are educated in mainstream classes
• 23% are educated in special classes in mainstream primary and post-primary
schools; and
• 14% are educated in special schools

In respect of children with ASD who cannot be accommodated in mainstream
education, they may be enrolled in special classes or special schools where
more intensive and supportive interventions are provided.

The Deputy will also be aware that it is the role of the National Council for
Special Education (NCSE) to make appropriate arrangements to establish special
classes in schools in communities where the need for such classes has been

Progress in developing this network has been significant and in addition to the
special school placements there are currently over 1,000 special classes
throughout the country at primary and post primary level of which 765 are for
children with Autism. This figure will increase to 1,153 special classes
available next year of which 889 will be for children with Autism.

The NCSE has advised that for the coming school year there will be 127 early
intervention classes, 525 primary ASD classes and 237 post-primary ASD classes,
which represents an increase of approx. 16% on 2015/16 classes for children
with autism.

Of these there will be 42 ASD classes in Co. Tipperary, including 8 Early
Intervention Classes for children who are not yet school going age, 20 primary
school classes and 14 post primary level classes in mainstream schools. 6 of
these classes are new classes due to open in September 2016, 5 in primary
schools and 1 in a post primary school. This will result in the provision of 48
places in early intervention classes, 120 places for primary school pupils and
84 places for post primary pupils in Co. Tipperary. There are currently 5 ASD
special classes at primary level in Clonmel.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs ,
including those in Co. Tipperary, are available on in county order,
with new classes identified.

The NCSE’s Policy Advice on Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
(ASD) in Schools which was published on 15th July 2016 indicates a national ASD
prevalence rate of 1.5% or 1 in every 65 students. The NCSE does not have a
prevalence rate specific to Co. Tipperary.


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