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New 'Inspire' school for autism opening


Henry Fitzsimons

Henry Fitzsimons

Henry Fitzsimons

The 'Inspire' speech and language school for children and adults with autism is set to open in Dundalk next week.

Led by Henry Fitzsimons, the new school, opening at 59 Park Street, is now taking names of parents and children who would like to attend.

'Speech and language lessons are being highly subsidised by Service Dogs Europe to those who require our help, but long term the school will be run on fundraising efforts,' said Henry.

'The idea behind offering a service where parents and children could avail of subsidised low cost speech and language lessons first emerged after I read a story of a father who felt ashamed he could not afford to pay for the speech and language lessons his son needed when he was younger.

This still upset the father to this day, wondering just how far on his son would have been had he been able to afford the lessons.'

'As a father myself of two boys on the autistic spectrum, I could fully understand where he was coming from,' said Henry.

He confirmed that the school has also recently appointed a trained speech and language therapist.

'We are delighted to announce the appointment of Claire Walshe, who graduated with an Honours degree in Speech and Language Therapy from the University of East Anglia. She has experience working with both children and adults with learning difficulties, children with hearing impairments and typically developing children with speech and language delay/disorder.'

Previous to this Claire completed a degree in Business Studies from the University of Limerick in 2011.

Henry explained: 'Claire is dedicated to developing her clinical skills. Since completing her speech and language therapy degree, she attended a training course for stuttering therapy for children aged 0-6 years of age and is now Lidcombe Programme trained.'

'She is enthusiastic about offering this new speech and language therapy service. She favours a holistic approach to therapy, therefore actively involving parents in the therapeutic process to improve their child's communication skills.'

The Inspire speech and language school will open on Tuesday next, November 18th.

Parents of children with autism, or adults who would like to avail of classes are invited to contact the school by email at sdeinspire@eircom.net