Pat Fanning is the teacher behind the first class for children with Asperger’s in Ireland.
For 37 years, Pat worked at St. Joseph’s Primary School in Fairview, North Dublin, and it’s thanks to the dedicated teacher’s groundbreaking move that there are now 60 schools around the country which cater for children with Asperger’s.
Following the success of creating the first special needs class, Pat opened the Sables centre in Kabwe, Zambia to care for kids living on the streets.
Describing the centre, Pat said: “Young boys were living in sewer pipes and down alleyways, we just wanted to get them out of there.”
Pat was nominated for an award by St. Joseph’s teacher Helen O’Brien, who hailed him as a “hero”. Ms O’Brien said: “To the students of Joey’s here in Fairview and Sables in Zambia, Pat is quite simply a hero.
“No matter where a child is from, or what they can or can’t do, Pat inspires them to strive to be the best that they can be. “He is unselfish, dedicated, caring, generous and encouraging. He always put the kids first. He’s our unsung hero and he never stops.”
“From setting up the rst Asperger’s school to his work in Zambia homing children who called sewer pipes home before his intervention, Pat is truly inspirational. We wish all kids could have a teacher like Pat.”