OVER €10,000 has been raised by a Shannon school in their quest to create a sensory room for their multiple disability class called Aoibhneas.

St Tola’s National School is one of a very few amount of schools in the country with a multiple disability class attached to their school allowing the children to be integrated for part of the day into a mainstream classroom.

Five pupils with significant medical needs are currently enrolled in the class. The fundraiser which is on GoFundMe has the goal of creating a sensory room for the children in Aoibhneas.

Fiona Burke who is the teacher of Aoibhneas explained, “A sensory room can help them improve their visual, auditory and tactile processing and fine and gross motor skills. It’s an area that provides a sense of calm and comfort. A sensory room will also be a fantastic addition to the school for the pupils in our ASD class and any children in our school who may need a quiet space during the day”.

Kilmaley native Fiona has been teaching in the Shannon school for the past fourteen years. She has taught the multiple disability class since it opened in September 2021. Prior to this she loved teaching senior infants but is more than content in her new role.

Ordinarily children with the needs presenting in Aoibhneas, they must have a dual diagnosis, would attend a special school where an occupational therapist, physiotherapist and nurse would be on site but in St Tola’s this work falls to Fiona and the rotating team of special needs assistants (SNAs), Vivien Rafferty, Sinead Lenihan. Siobhan Casey, Aileen Purcell but only one SNA is officially allocated to the class by the Department of Education.

Children in Aoibhneas have been made “feel part of the community” by the school’s decision to set up the class, Fiona reflected. “For two of the children, they wouldn’t be able for the bus journey to Ennis or Limerick, there isn’t an option for them, their parents wanted them in the local community naturally enough”.

As part of the fundraising, all students completed a ‘Witches Walk’ around Shannon in October which was led by the pupils in Aoibhneas. “It was quite emotional to see the children leading the whole school, every child from Junior Infants to Sixth Class were so proud to see them lead the walk around the town centre, they were even greeted by people who recognised the children on the way”.

In January, a new prefab was opened in the school, the months prior to this saw the class use an area in the hall “which is not suitable for children with those needs,” Fiona acknowledged. An allocation from the Department was used to kit out the room with furniture and a whiteboard. “It is really important to have a sensory room, schools don’t have money at the minute so we decided as a school to see how we could come up with a fundraiser for the children”.

She added, “For me within the class we’re like our own family, the parents are truly amazing, they are so thankful and extremely supportive, I wouldn’t be able to do it without the SNAs I work with. Our principal, Mary Dunlea Fitzgerald has been a fantastic support as has been other staff members, it’s a school effort”.

To donate to the fundraiser, click HERE. 

Related News

shannon town sign
Shannon locals frustrated on lack of information for industrial estate refugee plans
cian obroin
Ex Echo reporter Cian joins The Irish Mirror
patient hospital
Ennis transfers to continue but no extra resources
moneypoint killimer 9
ESB plans for Moneypoint site works
MOST READ
Previous
Next

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top
Enable Notifications for the latest news and updates OK No thanks