In 2019, AsIAm submitted a detailed policy submission outlining our views on facilitating greater inclusion within Irish schools. It looked at whether we should continue providing special schools and classes for autistic students, or if an accelerated push towards full inclusion into mainstream settings would be in their best interests.
Ireland’s ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2018 (UNCRPD), a document which includes the state’s obligation to “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels” for citizens living with disabilities.
AsIAm wishes for every school to work towards being inclusive of all children children. We believe that special classes and schools present a more inclusive option for some children, for whom mainstream settings have not been resourced to support.
The Education for Persons with Special Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 legally protects autistic children’s right to be supported and included in mainstream schools. Indeed, a large proportion of our community are educated alongside their neurotypical classmates.
Major gaps continue to persist however, in terms of getting school places, timely needs assessments and appropriate teacher training.
To learn more about AsIAm’s proposals for inclusive education, download the report here or read it below.