World Autism Acceptance Week
Monday, March 27th to Sunday, April 2nd is known as World Autism Acceptance Week. Here are some of the myths and facts about what Autism is from our Ireland's National Autism Charity 'As I Am'
"In recent years, major progress has been made in increasing awareness and acceptance of autism...We are moving away from the narrative of curing or converting autistic people and instead focusing on accepting, supporting and including autistic people, and advocating for their rights. This is a major transformation for all autistic people, their allies, the wider neurodiversity community and the world at large. It enables autistic people to claim their dignity and self-esteem, and to become fully integrated as valued members of their families and societies." (United Nations)
In Stratford National School, we are showing that we value autistic individuals by offering them a place in our school. In November 2022, the National Council for Special Educational Needs (NCSE) sanctioned an Early Intervention Class for Children with Autism to open in our prefab. These six autistic children, aged 3, will officially become part of our school on August 29th, 2023. The NCSE also sanctioned Stratford NS its own Autism Class for autistic children to integrate with their mainstream class peers. The four children currently enrolled so far to start in that class will be located in the classroom (formerly the support room) next to their Junior & Senior Infant friends for easy integration throughout the school day. We are waiting on two of our current students to undergo assessments for the final places in that class. Both our Autism Classes will run to the same timetable as the Infant day, and as students of our school, will be required to wear our Stratford uniform, and follow our school policies and procedures with healthy kosher lunches also.
The Department of Education funds the teachers for both classes, and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) with a ratio of 1 adult to 2 children. They have provided start-up grants for ICT, furniture and our new Sensory Room (installed by The Sensory Pod) next to the Sports Hall. Our current students are already enjoying the use of this much-needed sensory space. Usage of our school facilities for all after-school clubs and childcare will not be affected by the opening of these two classes. The Principal will need to move her school office out to the prefab to make space for our SET teachers, but otherwise, the school will continue to work as it usually does. The Board of Management and School Patrons, the Dublin Talmud Torah, are delighted to welcome these fantastic boys (and one girl so far) to our school and allow them the #SameChance as their neurotypical peers to an excellent education as students of Stratford. If you are interested in pre-enrolling your child in our wonderful school and joining the waiting list for any class, please add your child's details to our secure database here