About Seolta Pre- School for ASD
Seolta consists of two ASD pre-school classes. Each class is attended by two S.N.A.’s and one Teacher. There are six pupils in each class. The pupils are mainly supported by the Early Intervention Services H.S.E and St. Michael’s House Services.
All children enrolled in Seolta must initially be referred to the admissions team at Skerries Educate Together National School and have a psychological assessment stating the child has Autism. All letters of referral will be dated and filed.
Children are awarded places on a first come first served basis and a waiting list is compiled when both classrooms are full.
Enrolment in Seolta Pre-school
Enrolment in the pre-school may occur at any stage during the school year provided the criteria for admission have been satisfied.
(a) A valid Autism diagnosis for the child.
(b) The child must be aged between 3-5 and he/she will not be offered a place if he/she turns 6 during the academic year.
If these conditions have been met and a place is available in the pre-school, then the parents will be contacted and invited to visit us.
Some children who have already spent a year in the pre-school may be offered a second year there.
The pre-school day is from 8:30 am until 1:00pm.
We use the NCCA guidelines for pupils with mild, moderate and severe learning difficulties depending on the pupil’s cognitive abilities.
I.E.P. (Individual Education Plans) meetings with the parents are held in October and reviewed throughout the school year.
Communication between the school and home is generally made via the child’s communication notebook. Notes regarding school trips are sent home in the child’s notebook.
The DES (transport section) funds the transportation of children with Autism who live outside the area to our school. An escort travels with the children in the bus and delivers the children safely to and from home. The application for transport is made through the school.
Teaching and Learning
Children with autism generally have specific needs and strengths which need to be addressed. The I.E.P. attempts to address and teach to these individual needs.
We focus on the development of communication, social skills and flexibility of thought while catering to the sensory needs of the child.
Some of the approaches employed in Seolta are as follows:
TEACCH – The essence of the programme is the provision of a learning environment, which facilitates learning for the child with autism. Through structured teaching the child with Autism can learn to work independently and without anxiety.
PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System. This approach teaches the child to use pictures to exchange for something they want. The focus is on encouraging the child to initiate communication.
Social Stories – These help to teach social skills/responses through the medium of a story. They are written for individual children and address a specific situation, which that child needs to understand or respond to.
ABA – Applied Behaviour Analysis. Elements of this approach may be used individually with children to target specific behaviours and skills. Appropriate behaviours/interactions/skills are taught and when the appropriate response is made by the child, the behaviour is reinforced.
Integration – Integration with mainstream classes occurs throughout the year. All integration is planned to ensure a positive and successful experience for each child. The process varies for each child and certain activities will not suit every pupil. In this scenario, reverse integration may be more suitable.
The children also experience another level of integration. Pupils participate in activities that involve the two Seolta Classes such as yard time, snack time, assemblies and outings.