St. Gabriel’s Special School Cork is a special needs school for children with severe and profound learning difficulties in Cork aged 4 – 18 years. It is the only school in Cork to deal with children with a dual diagnosis of autism and severe intellectual disability. This school will be a lifeline for many children and their families, now and in the future, as the children remain here until they are eighteen.
The team at St. Gabriel’s always come to school with a smile on their faces and do a fantastic job with the limited resources they have. Despite the fact they provide a loving environment for these exceptional children, it is not a safe one. The horrifying conditions are not suitable for any child and are definitely not suitable for these special needs children.
A lot of these vulnerable children are in wheelchairs or have limited mobility and require one-to-one supervision with their Special Needs Assistants and Teachers. The majority of these children also are unable to go to the toilet by themselves and need assistance for their most basic needs.
When the school was originally purchased, it was never intended as a special needs school. It was NEVER upgraded for the needs of children with severe disabilities. It receives very little funding from the government and the money they do receive is used for the running of the school and there is no money leftover to purchase necessary equipment.
Some of the issues the school deals with are as follows:
There is no hot running water in some of the classrooms;
The bathrooms are barely big enough to get a wheelchair inside;
There are no dedicated toilets for children with severe medical conditions;
The roof is severely damaged in most classrooms;
There are no ramps for wheelchairs;
There are no dedicated rooms for physiotherapy or occupational therapy;
The sensory garden is not accessible for children in wheelchairs and
The sensory room has no specialist equipment in it and is housed in a windowless outbuilding.
As parents, we are just trying to bring some respect and dignity to these children who cannot speak for themselves.
Any donations you can give would go directly toward upgrading the many issues the school has and would enhance the condition and suitability for all the children both for the present and in the future.
Thank you for your support. Any money you can spare will make a huge difference to the lives of these children.
From the Parents Association of St. Gabriel’s Special School Cork
- MICHELLE WALSH
- Janet Forrest
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