One of the first schools in the city to open an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) class celebrates it's new building, as their first ever students get ready to graduate.
North Monastery Secondary School opened its ASD unit six years ago, the first mainstream school on the North side of the City to do so.
The school held the event to mark both the opening of the school’s new ASD building and in honour its student’s accomplishments over the years.
“It was a real celebration of our first intake six years ago as those students reach 6th year and the range of challenges and rewards we faced along the way,” Special Educational Needs co-ordinator Niamh O’Connor said.
“All of these boys have succeeded greatly,” she added.
The first 18 students who started in North Monastery’s ASD unit in 2011 are now about to sit a mix of leaving cert and leaving cert applied examinations, with two students preparing to go on to study music.
“These young, innocent, introverted students came into us in first year and they are leaving as fine, young men ready to go out into the world,” Ms O'Connor said.
Video interviews were also played at the event, featuring the students explaining what their time at the school had meant to them.
“They all said they felt like they had a friend on their side here."
The new building of North Monastery's ASD unit also includes a multi-sensory room and a small gym for students.
“For us, it’s all about integration. Not just our students with ASD accessing resources in the main building but also about our mainstream students being able to access resources in the ASD building, like the gym and the multi-sensory room.”
Ms O'Connor praised students' parents, guest speaker John Mullins, as well as principal Mick Evans.
“The support has been very strong.”