Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Special Educational Needs
I absolutely concur with my colleague, Deputy Bruton. I keep thinking about this child-centred focus from the perspective of the child and the child's needs. Speech therapists, occupational therapists and psychological supports should be brought into the child's school rather than the child having to be othered or made different by travelling to another place. I keep thinking this is a little like children in hospital with ongoing additional health needs who have to turn up again and again to multiple different types of appointments, whether neurology, endocrinology or anything else. I refer to complex cases in which the child is constantly taken out of his or her routine. Children should wake up, have their breakfast, get to school, come home and have as normal a day as possible. For any child with additional needs, whether educational needs or health needs, as a State, we need to think about this from the child's perspective and deliver the services in the most natural and convenient way for them that will achieve the best outcomes and be minimally disruptive to them.
This is a fantastic model and, as Deputy Bruton said, the evaluation is clear. What is really exciting about it is being able to deliver it more broadly as quickly as possible.