Axing of autism home tuition ‘rash cost-cutting’

Children with autism are having their home tuition halted and instead are being ordered to attend new special needs units, according to one of the country’s leading autism support groups.

The Department of Education announced that 91 new classes for children with special needs are to be introduced at special needs units at the country’s schools.

Shine Ireland, the Irish Progressive Association for Autism, initially welcomed the investment but yesterday criticised it as “rash cost- cutting” saying they hadn’t realised then that such units would be used to replace more costly home tuition.

The home tuition service is used by hundreds of children with autism, some as young as two, who need specific learning support, seen as a form of early one- on-one intervention.

Shine Ireland said families have been told in the past fortnight their home tuition will no longer be funded.

Its CEO Kieran Kennedy said: “The children are being sent wherever. There has been no consultation, no chance to talk to teachers or the principal at school.

“There has been no chance to see if the needs of child can be met. No parent of a regular child would be told that you have to put your child into a particular school at four years of age.”

A Department of Education spokesperson denied grants were being cut.

“Home tuition is provided for children with special educational needs awaiting an appropriate educational placement, as an interim measure,” the spokesperson said. “Home tuition is not an acceptable long-term alternative to the placement of a child in school.

“It is, in general, a short-term measure available to parents who are unable to identify a placement in school for their child.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Redhead festival cancelled

TD fears legalising medical cannabis ‘will open door’

Revenge is basis of sex claims, says former priest

Ryanair holidays set for takeoff


Breaking Stories

Inquest for murdered dissident republican delayed by legal files disagreements

Enda Kenny denies being snubbed by Donald Trump

Children's Minister may order investigation into sex assault allegations at Dublin school

'There will be death on the streets this Christmas'

Lifestyle

Top eight foodie gifts for Christmas under €10

Ireland's health experts share their top tips for getting through Christmas

Pixiwoo share their best (and worst) beauty buys

Santa plays by the house rules with parent friendly presents

More From The Irish Examiner