A number of Autism Units are expected to be built in Leitrim during this school term 2018/19.
Minister Richard Bruton informed the Dáil that 12 Autism Units will be built within Sligo/ Leitrim and Donegal this year.
Since 2011 the number of ASD special classes have increased from two to five in Co. Leitrim.
The new ASD classes will include five new Primary ASD classes and seven new Post-Primary ASD classes.
In Leitrim there are currently special units at St Patrick's NS, Drumshanbo, Drumshanbo Vocational School, Carrigallen Vocational School, Mohill Community College and St Clare's Comprehensive, Manorhamilton.
Minister Bruton was responding to a number of questions from Fianna Fáil Deputy Marc MacSharry on the subject. Deputy MacSharry also queried the number of applications received for September 2018 by the special education needs organiser based in Manorhamilton, and details on the plans to accommodate the applications in the respective schools and areas.
Minister Bruton outlined that the Department provides SNA support to over 12,000 extra pupils since 2011 and currently provides 13,400 resource teachers.
Since 2011, the increase in SNAs has been 3,545, including an additional 2,080 posts in the last two years.
The number of resource teachers has increased by 3,660 since 2011, including 1,600 additional posts in the past two years.
The number of special classes has risen by 712 since 2011, including 277 new classes in the past two years.
A professional report is needed before a child is placed in a special class.
He told the TD, “In schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result in some students not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.”
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) advises parents to seek to enrol their child, by applying in writing, to the school/s of their choice as early as possible.
Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available on www.ncse.ie