The Dominican Sisters responded to specific community needs in their approach to education by establishing a number of special schools to cater for children with impaired hearing and behavioural problems.
Based on a Catholic philosophy and the Dominican ethos, these schools strive to nurture the dignity and uniqueness of each child, to include the child’s family and to avail of the supports which can be accessed.
Founded in 1963, Benincasa is under the trusteeship of the Dominican Sisters and the patronage of the Archbishop of the Diocese of Dublin. The school offers a specialised education to children who for personal and emotional reasons are unable to benefit from mainstream education.
Currently there are 49 pupils from South Dublin, Wicklow and Arklow attending. A large staff includes teachers, a special needs assistant, child care staff, a speech and language therapist and an occupational therapist. Further information can be viewed on the Benincasa website.
Casa Caterina was founded in 1973 for children with learning disabilities and severe behaviour problems. The school based in Cabra is under the trusteeship of the Dominican Sisters and caters for children with ADD and ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome and ODD.
Casa Caterina has a dedicated staff, made up of teachers and Special Needs Assistants. The school provides a secure environment to nurture children so that they can integrate into society and participate in mainstream education. A range of therapeutic activities are provided to pupils which includes PE, football, art and music.
St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls
The Dominican Sisters established St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls in Cabra in 1846. St Mary’s caters for severe and profoundly deaf girls, enabling each to reach her full potential.
Today, St Mary’s remains on the Dominican campus in Cabra but is under the trusteeship of the Catholic Institute for the Deaf since 1996. It has a rich history which includes a visit from Pope John Paul II in 1979. In 2011, a St Mary’s student, Leah Ennis McLoughlin rang the Peace Bell at Aras an Uachtaran during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2016, St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls and St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys merged: Holy Family School for the Deaf is the new school.
Further information can be viewed on the St Mary’s School for Deaf Girl’s website. www.stmarysdeafgirls.ie