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New autism support class at Darrara NS

June 11th, 2024 8:35 AM

By Southern Star Team

New autism support class at Darrara NS Image
Junior infant Fritz Eichorn with Adam Harris of As I Am, at Darrara National School. (Photo: Martin Walsh)

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THE opening of a new autism support class in Darrara National School was described as a special day for Clonakilty.

The new support class was officially opened at Darrara NS  by the chief executive and founder of the autism support service As I Am, Adam Harris. The class is giving pupils with autism a chance to learn in the mainstream while getting additional supports they need, school principal Claire Higgins said. ‘This is a special day for us and indeed for Clonakilty, as an autism-friendly town,’ she said.

‘The opening of our new autism support class and our involvement in the As I Am autism-friendly school initiative has provided fantastic opportunities to enhance our skills as a staff, and this continuous professional development, has had such a positive impact on our pupils,’ said Ms Higgins.

‘Also, the addition of our autism support class gives our pupils the chance of dual enrolment, whereby they have a seat at both tables, providing opportunities for learning in the mainstream and autism support class throughout their day.’

The school now has two sensory rooms, and an additional soft-play area. The school was granted permission to open an autism support class by the local special educational needs organisers. Funding from the Department of Education allowed for a room to be reconfigured, while further renovations were carried out on the outdoor areas.

The school had its official open day last Thursday. ‘The theme of the day was “together and belonging” and that’s a message that encompasses everything about the school, community and surrounding area,’ said Ms the principal.

She also paid tribute to Adam Harris, the Taoiseach’s brother. ‘He was an inspiring speaker and a wonderful ambassador,’ she said.

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