New podcast: Teaching autistic pupils in an Irish-medium environment

Jun 1, 2022

In recent years, the number of autism classes in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools has greatly increased. So too has the number of children benefiting from Irish-medium education and the immersion model from naíonra onwards.

In this podcast teachers Elaine, Aisling, Máire and Éabha discuss teaching autistic pupils in an Irish-medium environment with Dáithí Murray.

The panel will share some of the benefits of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education for autistic children and young people, as well as some tips and advice for colleagues working in the sector. They will also share some insights into unique issues facing those working in Irish-medium education to support autistic pupils and students reach their full potential.


Middletown Centre for Autism and Gaeloideachas are releasing a series of resources for teachers in Irish-Medium Education. Later in the year Gaeloideachas and Middletown will launch an Irish language handbook for teachers, this will contain information and helpful strategies for teachers working with autistic pupils in an Irish-medium or Gaeltacht environment.

Guest speakers on the podcast

Elaine Ní Shé, Teacher and Special Education Coordinator, Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh

Elaine is an Irish and French post-primary level teacher. She is teaching in Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh since the school first opened in 2006. She has completed a post-graduate course in special education and is currently the special education coordinator in the school, as well as a learning support and French teacher.

Aisling Fay, Principal, Gaelscoil na Fuinseoige

Aisling is a Gaelscoil principal with thirty years of experience. Aisling is currently principal of Gaelscoil na Fuinseoige, a school established in 2016. In 2017, the school opened a class for autistic children. There are six pupils in that class now. Aisling worked as Head of School Placement in Hibernia College and continues to work with student teachers. She has a postgraduate in management in education and completed a thesis on the role of parents in newly established schools. She has a particular interest in Special Education and has given talks with the NCSE.

Máire Ní Choileáin, Former Naíonra Educator, Naíonra Thír na nÓg

Máire has twenty-five years of experience working as a naíonra leader/educator. She raised her own family through the medium of Irish outside of the Gaeltacht. She also has experience working with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Éabha Ní Chualáin, Principal, Scoil Naomh Ciarán, Cill Chiaráin, Conamara

Éabha is a primary school teacher for fifteen years and has experience in various educational settings around the country, including Gaelscoileanna, L2 schools and other Gaeltacht settings. She is a teaching principal in Scoil Naomh Ciarán since 2016. Scoil Naomh Ciarán is a Gaeltacht school with Deis rural status located in the beautiful area of Cill Chiarán in Conamara. The school opened an autism class in 2018 with the help of local parents, the school’s Board of Management and the NCSE. Éabha and another teacher from the school have completed the Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies delivered by Middetown Centre for Autism and Mary Immaculate College. The course was a great help to them preparing for new teaching methods, as well as getting a proper understanding of autism. The school has a supportive, engaged staff that has completed many professional development courses in recent years. They promote excellence in teaching and inclusion in the school. The school is currently involved in the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme and has a huge interest in proving special education services in the mother tongue of children and families in their area.