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Local mother struggling to find special school place for son

Jun 22, 2022 13:06 By Shannonside News
Local mother struggling to find special school place for son Local mother struggling to find special school place for son
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Garth has no school place this September.

An Athlone woman whose son has special educational needs has started to refuse to go to school as there is no place for him at second level in September.

It follows a report from the Children's Ombudsman, who says the Department of Education is 'failing' students.

Michelle Lynch's 12 year old son Gareth, who has autism and type 1 diabetes.

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He currently has no school place in his native Athlone, as the only school with an autism unit is full.

Michelle says he badly needs it.

The next best option is in a school 50km away in Galway, but Michelle says because of his diabetes, she wouldn't be able to get to him in case there is an emergency.

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The story of Michelle and Gareth follows remarks by the Children's Ombudsman, who says a shortage of school places is failing children like Gareth.

Dr Niall Muldoon says there is a significant gap between places in primary and post-primary schools:

With around a quarter of students with special educational needs, Dr Muldoon predicts the situation is only going to get worse.

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