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Children with special needs facing uphill battle for resources - Crowe

31 August, 2015 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe has claimed that parents with children with special needs are facing an uphill struggle getting and holding on to resources as they move from primary to secondary education.

Crowe said that the process should be seamless with trapdoors that currently exist for students moving from one school to another removed and that educational supports need to travel throughout the education cycle with the child.

The government has promised additional funding in the budget, but this will not benefit any of the children who have been informed of a cut to their early learning entitlement in recent weeks.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

"Parents with a child of school going age and with special needs face an uphill battle to get resources for their child or children.

"The first barrier they confront is trying to get a school to take their loved one and depending on the resources of the school, getting supports for their child.

"Parents of children with special educational needs are literally worn out by the demands of their loved one and should not have to go to what seems like the ends of the earth to get support.

"The lack of continuity in support services from primary to post-primary schools continues to impact negatively on children. It should be seamless and the trapdoors that currently exist for a student moving from one school to another need to be removed.

"Former and the current Minister for Education have promised reforms but the gaps and the huge effort to keep educational supports continue to be made difficult.

"Surely if a psychologist has said the child need supports and the disability determines that they need supports, then they should get those supports.

"Why can’t we have a system that looks at the child and determines whatthey actually need for supports during their time in the education system and the supports stays with the child?

"Five years ago a free pre-school year was introduced, giving families an entitlement of 15 hours early learning for each child prior to their entry into primary school.

"This initiative has not been backed up by sufficient resources with the most vulnerable cohort, children with special needs, not getting the supports they require - whether it be in terms of access to pre-school services, or insufficient services within the pre-school setting.

"It is unacceptable that there are currently children with special needs who are having their hours cut. These are families that have fought tooth and nail to attain the supports their children need.

"The Government have promised additional funding in the upcoming budget, but currently parents face an uphill battle to access and hold onto the educational supports their children need for their development."

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