PARENTS and teachers have raised concerns about SELB travel arrangements at a local autism unit, claiming that delays are hampering pupils’ education and exacerbating their symptoms.
Pupils at St Joseph’s High School Autism Unit, Coalisland, have arrived late for school and late back home due to SELB funded taxis carrying out multiple pick-ups and drop-offs, parents claim.
DUP MLA Maurice Morrow has raised the issue at the Northern Ireland Assembly, demanding that action should be taken to address the issue.
The Dungannon peer said the problems were ‘interfering with the child’s existing challenges and necessary routines symptomatic of autism’.
Education Minister John O’Dowd confirmed that the Southern Education Library Board had been contacted by a parent with concerns regarding journey times and late arrivals at the facility.
The parent was advised that it would take several days for new arrangements to be put in place. Similar concerns were raised a few days later by the teacher in charge of the Learning Support Centre at the school.
“The SELB responded to these concerns by arranging for two taxis to provide this service with effect from 10th September”, he said.
“I understand that the Transport Officer contacted the teacher in charge of the Learning Support Unit and she confirmed that she was satisfied with the new arrangements.
“In this case, the Board provided alternative transport arrangements within three working days of the initial contact from the concerned parent which resolved the matter. I am therefore content that no further action is required.”