It was now time to “operationalise” the funding that has been provided for new therapists for schools, the Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality and Disability said.
Anne Rabbitte said the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been working on recruiting occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and psychologists with funding of €11.5 million.
Over two years, 510 posts had been created, she told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland but added the problem was recruitment across the HSE.
Already 44 therapists had been appointed for the return to school this year with a further 44 due by mid term, the Minister said.
The therapists will be allocated to schools by the HSE, Ms Rabbitte said, adding 220 therapists have so far returned to support schools but that more posts needed to be filled.
Ms Rabbitte said how recruitment was taking place had to be examined and that she wanted such therapists to be part of the critical skills list so they could be recruited from elsewhere.
It was her job to ensure supports were in place — disability was not just a health issue; it was a rights issue, the Minister said.