A long-awaited class for children with autism in Athlone is set to open in February.
In July of last year following months of campaigning by the Autism Parents Athlone group, six school places were announced by the Longford/Westmeath ETB at the town's community college.
However, the opening of the class faced a number of delays and local campaigner Claire Early says some children had to accept places elsewhere or be home-schooled since September.
Speaking to Shannonside FM Claire says this is only the beginning with more places needed for local children.
''The six children who have been given a place at Athlone Community College will start in February. Parents are very happy and over the moon that the school is going to start and they have a place now for their children for their entire secondary school curriculum. The list is growing already so we have to start work now, approaching the schools, approaching the National Council for Special Education, getting the figures right and making sure things move now rather than during the summer when schools are closed.''