Designated Autism Unit – St. John’s N.S.
Admissions and Enrolment Policy
- All parents wishing to enroll their children in the class for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in St. John’s N.S. will require an up to date psychological assessment report from a registered Psychologist.
Please note that an “up-to-date psychological assessment” is defined as:
A psychiatric or psychological assessment report that clearly specifies whether the child has a confirmed diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
A reference to the child’s current cognitive functioning as well as current behaviour analysis as ascertained by valid and reliable psychometric tests and clinical impressions.
It is preferable that a report, completed within approximately 12 months prior to a decision being made with regards to the child’s application, should be furnished.
The age profile of children in the A.S.D. class must correspond with the age profile of all the other children in St. John’s N.S.
Final decision lies with the B.O.M. Applications Team comprising of the Board of Management, Chairperson, Principal, Psychologist, Special Class Teacher and S.E.N.O. (Special Needs Organisor).
Where a child’s behaviour impacts in a negative way on others in the school to the extent that their constitutional right to an education is being interfered with or their health and safety compromised, as judged by the Board of Management of the School, the school reserves the right to advise parents that a more suitable setting should be found for their child.
- Parent(s) / Guardian(s) will apply in writing to the School Principal.
- The criteria for admission, the services available, the teaching methodologies used, and a Registration/ Enrolment Form will be sent to the Parent(s) / Guardian(s) for consideration.
- Should Parent(s) / Guardian(s) feel that the particular class might suit their child’s needs they will need to forward the registration form along with a recent psychological assessment – see definition of same above.
- The application will be considered by the B.O.M. Multidisciplinary Committee. This Committee is comprised of a Psychologist, Board of Management Chairperson, Class Teacher and School Principal. The Admissions Committee recommendation is forwarded to the B.O.M. who will have the final decision.
The Class for Children with ASD
- According to the Department of Education and Science (D.E.S.) CIRCULAR 9/99 the current pupil teacher ratio applicable is 6:1. This is comprised of 1 Teacher and 2 Special Needs Assistants per 6 children.
- The outreach services of a multi disciplinary team from the Regional ASD Service will be available to the class.
- In-service training for staff will be delivered on an ongoing basis. In the light of whole team training, it may be deemed necessary at times to request the children not to attend school on that particular day(s). Parent(s) / Guardian(s) will be given ample notice of dates.
- All school staff will have access to specific training and focuses on educating/working with children who have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
“Enrolment” – At an introductory stage children will be integrated into their new class environment as per their individual needs (for example a child may initially attend on a part-time basis until the child has adapted to the new environment) this will be individually agreed and monitored in consultation with parents.
In all cases admissions must be monitored and reviewed – children shall not remain in this class if the class is not meeting their needs.
Teaching methods include elements of various styles and techniques including:
- All children follow the Mainstream Curriculum and integrate with their peers in the Mainstream Classes where appropriate
- E.P. (Individual Education Plans) are written at the start of the school year in consultation with parents and the A.S.D. Team. Targets are monitored on a regular basis, with review meetings taking place in January and June.
- E.A.C.C.H – Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children
- E.C.S – Picture Exchange Communication System
- P.E.L.L – Structure, Positive, Empathy, Low Arousal, Links
- Social Stories
- The Social Class Teachers will work in consultation with the A.S.D Team to ensure the needs of each child are addressed appropriately. The A.S.D Team may include the following members: Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Clinic Manager, Key Worker and Social Worker.
Individual Educational Plan – Children will have regular access to I.E.P.’s in the setting of St. John’s N.S.
Aim and Objectives
To provide a quality driven, appropriate educational service to all children in the Unit, within the requirements of all recent legislation pertaining to Special Needs Education.
To strive towards the integration of children in the Unit into mainstream education, having regard for levels of disability, available resources and suitability for such integration.
To enhance the communicative and social skills of the children in the Unit.
It is school policy to facilitate the discharge of pupils from the unit once they have reached the age of twelve.
Pupils who reach the age of thirteen after September 30th in any year will be permitted to complete that academic year. This means a June discharge in the following year. Discharge may also be recommended after the first year if the admissions team, after consultation with the parents/guardians, feel that placement is not appropriate.
The Board of Management will monitor the implementation of all aspects of this policy. This policy will be amended and updated as require.