Katie is a mother on a mission!

Katie Gould is a mother on a mission and is determined that there will be appropriate schoolplaces for all children in Ballincollig as they progress from national school to second level education!

According to the Cork Echo, “Katie Gould from Ballincollig has launched a campaign for school places for autistic children to be established at second level in Ballincollig for her son Charlie and for other children who have autism in the locality. The concerned mum was joined by other parents over the festive period in initiating a postcard campaign to highlight the issue on behalf of the local community. “We set up a postcard campaign. It is a Christmas wish from the children of Ballincollig who want autism classes in our schools by next September. “We posted 100 postcards with signatures from people in the local community to the Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan and to the National Council for Special Education,” she said.

By initiating this campaign, Ms Gould wants progress to be made on delivering appropriate local second-level school places for students with autism. “I have written to every city councillor in our area, all our TD’s, Micheál Martin, Norma Foley, the Ombudsman for Children repeatedly. I have encouraged all parents and people in the locality to do the same. “The more voices we can add the better. We are hoping progress can be made. I still don’t have a school place for my son. There are other families in Ballincollig who don’t have an appropriate place for their children. “There are quite a lot of children from Ballincollig commuting to Macroom on a daily basis which is not appropriate. This is stressful for the child as you are adding an hour commute. Charlie Gould has been offered a school place in a mainstream school for next September, but his concerned mother said this situation would not suit her son’s needs. “School has always been traumatic for Charlie. He always dreaded school. “Charlie is currently going to Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin in Ballincollig which is a wonderful school. They started an autism class in September and that has just radically changed his life. “He is due to start secondary school next September. He has been offered a place in a mainstream school. I can’t ask him to go back to the way things were before he started in the autism class, as school was horrendous for him through no fault of his school. “His current school-related anxiety is almost nil which we could not have dreamed would have been the case. There are no autism classes in any of the secondary schools in Ballincollig. This is not good enough,” she added. Ms Gould said the demand exists within the greater Ballincollig area for autism classes to be established at second level. “Le Chéile secondary school was due to open an autism class in September but the planning permission for their temporary accommodation was turned down. There were more than six applicants to Le Chéile for its autism class. There are more than enough children to fill an autism class. “Autism classes work differently for different children. It can support them as they access mainstream classes. This will suit some kids and not others. The options are to either go into mainstream classes or travel to Macroom,” she added.”

You can follow, and join in, this campaign on their facebook page www.facebook.com/Autism-classes-for-Ballincollig-Schools-103183108886865/