Naomh Bríd is an Autism Unit attached to the mainstream school. It caters for 18 children who have been diagnosed with ASD. The pupils range in age from 4-13 years and are all from the Laois area.
The recently newly built suite of rooms consist of three specially adapted classrooms, a kitchen, multi-sensory room, soft play room, secure yard, playground, ancillary rooms & general purpose space. It is staffed by 3 full-time teachers and 6 SNAs.
Naomh Bríd has been named in honour of the Brigidine Sisters who donated land to the extension. It is a great addition for our children and ensures that they do not have to travel great distances to receive the care they need.
Money was funded by the Department of Education for the building only. Thanks to a huge amount of fundraising by the local community and Laois/Offaly families for autism (LOFFA) we were able to kit out the unit with the necessary requirements. We were also very lucky to have resources for the soft play & sensory room sponsored by the local Abbeyleix Women's Group, dedicated parents, First Ireland Spirits & Abbeyleix Lions club. Their help & support has been invaluable & we are extremely grateful.
It is very important for all children with ASD to have a safe and structured learning environment that adopts different teaching and behaviour strategies specific to the children's individual needs. In Naomh Bríd we have adopted the TEACCH programme, we also use elements of ABA, lámh, PECS, social stories etc.. We consult with the professionals working with the children, for example, speech therapists, physiotherapists & psychologists in implementing specific programmes to address individual needs.
In Naomh Bríd we follow the National Curriculum, but also teach programmes such as social skills, play, life skills & swimming. Children attend the mainstream class each day to their best capability. It is our aim to help each child develop to their fullest potential.
Aras Naomh Bríd was officially opened in June 2018 by Bishop Denis Nulty.