Knockrooskey National School
I know a great many Parents who struggle every single day to ensure their children have access to the education they deserve.
I read about their struggles every day, I hear about their struggles often as many of my own friends who have children that are neurodivergent and who have to go to unspeakable lengths to have their children’s voices heard and rights acknowledged.
I remember a time before Conor had started school. We had no idea what was the best thing to do for him. At that point in his life he was afraid to leave the house, would get physically sick if he had to go anywhere new, would experience anxiety when going into new places.
I just remember feeling worried as we tried to decide on his behalf where would be best for him to go to school.
Just like all parents I wanted what was best for Conor but at that point in his life I had experience of Autism classes or special schools. I felt huge pressure personally to choose the right school for Conor, he was non-speaking and I could see he was very intelligent, I just didn’t know where was the right setting that would help my gorgeous Conor thrive.
Fate brought the right answer. Conor is Autistic and over the years had struggled with some medical difficulties unrelated to his Autism. We frequently stayed in Mayo General Hospital in order for him to access treatment. He has a wonderful Consultant in the Hospital who looks after him when he stays there or attends routine out – patient visits. She has a wealth of knowledge and expertise on Autism.
At one of Conor’s outpatient visits one day (close to his 4th Birthday) she asked had we plans yet for where we would send Conor to school in September. We told her we had no idea where would be best for him to help him thrive and to have the best possible chance at a fulfilling life.
She told us about Knockrooskey National School (NS), that it was a fantastic Primary School, headed by Principal Kieran Geraghty. She said that if Conor was her son she would not have a second thought about it, she would send him to Knockrooskey NS, as they had superb Autism classes with Teachers and SNAs who all had a wealth of knowledge and experience supporting Autistic students. It was Fate.
Shortly afterward we met with Principal Kieran Gearghty. I remember leaving that first meeting with an overwhelming sense of HOPE and POSITIVITY that had previously been diminishing in the months prior as I panicked and worried about making the right decision.
After that first meeting with Kieran, I knew Conor would be happy and by enrolling him in Knockrooskey NS my mind was at peace, as I knew we had made the right decision.
Principal Kieran together with his staff have a collective wealth of knowledge and experience that I alone will never be able to match. There have been many times since Conor started in his lovely school that I have not been able on my own to help Conor with new challenges he has faced.
I remember at one point he was causing himself physical harm by biting aggressively on his hands. It was at a time long before I have the knowledge base I have on Autism now.
I called the school to ask for advice and as usual they had the answer and advised me about oral sensory differences. They had given my lovely Conor a “Chewy” which has helped to stop him hurting himself but also provide that vital sensory supports.
Now when new challenges come up that Conor has not faced before I don’t instinctively panic, if I can’t find a solution myself I know that the school is only a phone call away.
That is one thing I love about Knockrooskey NS, it is one of the most friendly and open school’s I have ever known. You can call the school at any time if you need advice. Conor takes the bus to school every day to and from but most Fridays I pick him up so we can have some special time in town together with his Granny.
I know without even looking that Kieran will be outside the school, speaking to the parents, directing traffic to ensure everyone’s safety, even helping the children cross the road safely. There is a very real sense of community about the school, it’s a home away from home for Conor. He waits at the door now in the morning for the school bus to come bring him off for another day of fun and learning.
Sense of Community
That sense of community is literal when you see how cohesively Knockrooskey NS works on a day to day basis. There is no divide visible or invisible between the any of the children that attend the school.
I remember that first meeting with Kieran, he showed us around the rest of the school and I was taken aback by how bright it all was how beautiful all the rooms looked with all the lovely art work from the children displayed proudly on the walls.
I see how Conor has changed since he started in Knockrooskey, I see progress in Conor every single day. He likes to go out more now, doesn’t mind interacting in social settings as much, he ALWAYS has a huge smile on his face when he comes off the bus in the evening after another great day at school.
I know now with baby Jack he will attend Knockrooskey NS, he will progress and he too will live a happy life just like his big brother Conor.
I do realize how lucky we are to have found Knockrooskey NS, to know Principal Kieran Geraghty, to have brilliant Teachers like Noelle and Conor’s SNAs in his life. When I see how others struggle to have their children’s voices heard, to have that vital access to education for their children, to have their children’s rights acknowledged I realize how lucky my children are and I am forever thankful to Knockrooskey NS.
There are many brilliant National Schools in all of Mayo but for me personally as a Mother of two Autistic I cannot recommend Knockrooskey National School highly enough. It has quiet literally changed Conor’s life for the better and I will always be thankful.
This is an honest opinion post I wanted to write as a mother of two Autistic boys, to give praise where praise is due, as all too often I hear, read and see the struggles of other families who do not have that vital access to brilliant schools just like Knockrooskey NS.
Well by now you know what my personal opinion of Knockrooskey NS is. I will let my beautiful Conor’s most recent school photo do the talking for him, so he can tell you for himself what he thinks of his school.
If you want to find out more about Knockrooskey National School you can call them on 098 35276, email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their own website here.
—Post originally written in 2015—-