Extra resources in schools for children with ‘mild’ Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome Ireland welcomes ‘interim measure’ and calls for wider allocation
Down Syndrome Ireland said: ‘A recognition of Down Syndrome as a disability in its entirety, by the Department of Education, would have spared our children and their families the continued trauma and expense of assessments, a system based more on bureaucracy rather than reality and logic’
Children with Down Syndrome who have a mild intellectual disability will be given 2.5 hours of resources, the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has said.
The additional resources will be allocated to schools as an interim measure to support children with Down Syndrome, who are not already supported through the National Council for Special Education’s (NCSE) annual allocation process.
Down Syndrome Ireland said while it welcomed the decision as “an interim measure” the announcement “does not go far enough”.
It said there needs to be a model of resource allocation for all children with educational needs to be rolled out immediately.
“A recognition of Down Syndrome as a disability in its entirety, by the Department of Education, would have spared our children and their families the continued trauma and expense of assessments, a system based more on bureaucracy rather than reality and logic,” it said.
“As we welcome today’s decision to provide resource hours for all children with Down Syndrome attending mainstream schools, we vouch to continue to lobby for a proper plan to be put in place to right the wrongs of recent years for all people with disabilities.”
The Department of Education said the interim allocations will remain until the proposed new model for allocating teaching supports to children with special education needs comes into force.
Fine Gael TD for Meath East Regina Doherty said the extra resources allocated to children with Down Syndrome will be a relief to families.
Ms Doherty said since 2005 children with Down Syndrome have been losing out on vital teaching hours because of slight variations in their IQ.
“Finally common sense has prevailed and children with a diagnosis of mild Down Syndrome will have access to the resources they require,” she said.