The boy's parents want to send him to the Autism Unit in O'Carolan College, Nobber, and feel it is the best fit for their son but without an extra class being sanctioned he will either have to attend the mainstream school or enrol in special unit elsehwere

Father’s anger over autism unit refusal

The child is one of six children who had applied for a special education place in O'Carolan College. However the school has failed to get approval from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) to open a second Autism Class.

The father of a 14-year-old boy who was due to start school in the Autism Unit at O'Carolan College, Nobber, in September has spoken of his anger and frustration that approval has not been given to open a second unit at the school.

The boy's father told how his son has been approved for a place for in an autism unit but because the existing unit in Nobber is full, and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) will not give the go-ahead for a second class, they have been told to send their son to school in Virginia.

"We have done a lot of research into special education units in the area. They are very experienced in O'Carolan College and the unit has a great reputation.

"We also got a nice feeling about the school. It has a country vibe and he has been in a country primary school. This is where we want our child to go to school.

"He already has the entrance exam done. We had bus transport organised for him. We can't believe that they are refusing to open the unit there when there are six children looking for places."

The boy who is now 14, was diagnosed with autism when he was three. The family lives just outside Kells and he attends an autism unit where he is doing well but his father said he is already feeling anxious about leaving and making the transition to secondary school without all this uncertainty.

"They told me I can't enrol my son in Nobber. But it is our decision where we want our son to go to school, the same as for any other parent. They accept he needs a unit, he will be funded by the Department of Education. We have sourced our own transport."

At this stage, the boys' parents feel they may have no option but to send their son to the school as a mainstream student but are worried about how he is going to cope.

While his mother said he is well able academically, she said he struggles socially and with organisational skills and needs extra support.

"It is so upsetting that we have to fight for everything. We are so frustrated. We have contacted politicians. We are not going to accept this."

The child is just one of six who had applied for a special education place in O'Carolan College. The school has planned on opening a second autism class to cater for demand in the area but this second class has not been sanctioned.

Read the full story here from this week's Meath Chronicle where Principal Brian Goggins expressed his shock that the school is ready and willing to put on a second Autism class but has been refused.