Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Wednesday, 12 May 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 504 No. 5

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  170.  Mr. N. Ahern  Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   the plans, if any, he has to establish the right to a proper and complete service in law for all mentally handicapped children as demanded by parents' groups; his position in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12468/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The Education Act, 1998, provides the statutory framework within which the rights of [1096] children with a disability to a proper and complete education service is guaranteed.

Section 7 of the Act provides that, the Minister for Education and Science shall ensure, subject to the provisions of the Act, that there is made available to each person resident in the State, including a person with a disability or who has other special educational needs, support services and a level and quality of education appropriate to meeting the needs and abilities of that person.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I recently announced a major new initiative in the special education area under which all children in the primary sector who have been assessed as having special needs arising from a disability will be entitled to an automatic response to those needs.

The level and nature of the response in each case will depend upon the assessed needs of the child or group of children involved. The response may take the form of full or part-time resource teacher support or child care support, or both, depending on the number of children involved and the nature of their needs.

I am satisfied that this new development in special education services, coupled with the measures set out in the Education Act, 1998 will ensure that all special needs children receive the support they require to enable them to gain maximum benefit from the education system.

  171.  Mr. N. Ahern  Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   if he will have examinations made into the situation (details supplied) regarding a leaving certificate pupil with dyslexia; the way in which the examiner will know of his condition; if a special exemption will be arranged for the pupil; if his attention has been drawn to other similar cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12471/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  In relation to the special arrangements that might be made for the person concerned the position is that the school the candidate is attending has appealed the Department's decision to the special arrangements appeals committee.

The majority of the members of the appeals committee and its chairperson are external to my Department and it exists to consider individual cases in a thoroughly impartial manner.

The appeal on behalf of the candidate concerned will be considered at the next meeting of the committee.


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