Stepping Stones Special School for children with Autism and Complex Needs began in October 2001 in Newbridge College with a single classroom. At this time it was named Kildare ABA School. The purpose of the school was to provide a specific educational service to those children who had been diagnosed with autism, who were failing to grow and develop in their current educational environment. The educational approach adopted by the school was Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).
Six students attended the school on a daily basis, while others were catered for by attending the school intermittently, and receiving home visits from the School Consultant. This number grew rapidly and the larger group was in need of a new setting. With the kind approval of Kilcloon National School, the school was granted permission to use their premises during the summer of 2002. With the move the school was renamed Stepping Stones Meath ABA School.
Stepping Stones Special School for Children with Autism and Complex Needs was originally established by the hard work and dedication of determined parents and enthusiastic staff. When founded, the School relied strongly on the generosity and goodwill of others but the main financial burden fell to the parents.
Through major struggle and the determination of the parents, Stepping Stones Special school for Children with Autism and Complex Needs was recognised by the Department of Education and Science in February 2003, and funded, on project status, to support children and their families. This was a major breakthrough in the fight for children with autism to receive the right to a state funded education.
Due to the fact that the Department of Education and Science was now funding the school, the parents were able to concentrate on fund- raising to acquire a permanent home for Stepping Stones.
Following two temporary accommodations the school moved into its current location in February 2005 – a permanent site in Harristown, Kilcloon, Co. Meath. In January 2006 the Department of Education & Science increased the pupil numbers and there are now thirty children attending the school. Stepping Stones Special School for Children with Autism and Complex Needs has been welcomed into the local community, and it is hoped that the school can expand on its current site, allowing more children to attend.
Further on, in April 2011 the school became part of Department of Education and Skills and is now regulated by the Regulations of Primary Schools in Ireland.
The Patron body is Autism Ireland and the Ethos is evidence based teaching and learning.
Stepping Stones Special School for Children with Autism and Complex Needs aims to provide an eclectic model of education to enable every pupil to live their lives to the full and to realise their potential as a unique individual. In order to achieve this, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum that is child centred and evidence based to all pupils, taking into consideration their learning styles, as well as, individual needs and abilities.
Following 4 years of transition the school has finally been approved and granted its permanent recognition from September 2015. This was due to our strong belief in a collaborative approach, where all the stakeholders aim to work for the benefit of the child with his/her learning and wellbeing setting them forward on a successful path.