Services for those with disabilities

 

Sir, – Carl O’Brien tells a familiar story (“Hundreds of special-needs children unable to access school places,” July 3rd).

This impacts on parents of children with complex developmental needs, and children struggling to have their needs recognised and addressed by health and educational services. Every person with additional needs, be those needs physical, mental or developmental has suffered disproportionally during the pandemic.

For those who cannot voice their worries, confusion and frustration, behaviour may be the only way to demonstrate distress.

Behaviour, for all of us, is a form of communication.

Government officials respond with numbers; figures that are supposed to prove commitment to education for those with additional needs.

Where is the explanation as to how this money is spent? Or the reassurance that the planning of special schools placements and places in special classes are made with clinical supports in mind?

Where is there an understanding that, as Anne Rabbitte, Minister of State with responsibility for disability, herself recognises, that special schools cannot operate without dedicated and skilled clinicians.

Where is the appreciation that until the departments of health and education work together, my child and every other child with additional needs will not reach their potential and ultimately will end up costing taxpayers more.

This is a familiar story. But there can be another ending.

– Yours, etc,

MARIA DUNNE,

Ringsend, Dublin 4.