Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.54 23 Jun 2020


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A mother has made an impassioned plea for authorities to make adequate provision for the education of children with special needs.

Last month, the Government confirmed a summer education plan for children with special needs.

Gayle - whose 18-year-old son Luca has severe autism and has been in a special needs school - said that seemed like the go-ahead for Luca to head back to school.

Mother makes impassioned plea over lack of transport for special needs education

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

She told Lunchtime Live: "The Taoiseach announced there would be a July Provision for these special needs kids - in other words, he recognised this is an essential service. A lot of them are in very tiny classroom with very few people - my son's in a class of four.

"It would have been a chance for him, because he has to transition to adult services. It would have been his last chance to get to graduate and say goodbye and to get some education in for transition."

Transport

While the main programme is up-and-running for Luca's school, Gayle said the problem is now around organising the usual essential transport for children - saying she believes the Department of Education has 'done nothing' to organise it.

She said: "The feel on the ground is... there's no will from the Department of Education - they've said yes, but they're making it impossible.

"That is part of the normal programme: you get your usual transport you have all year, and your escort to get these kids to and from their [school]."

Regression

She said she gets the impression that education officials are trying to encourage parents to do home tuition.

However, she told Ciara: "Home tuition has never worked for my son, and it doesn't work for a lot of children. He has regressed so dramatically in the last four months of not having his regular structure.

"[Luca] has regressed so far he is [injuring himself] again - that is something I haven't seen for years. He is not making sense... it requires me to be on him every minute of the day."

Essential

Gayle said teaching is an essential service, and it's important for children, especially those with special needs, to return to school soon.

She observed: "There is no plans in place - there is nothing laid down structurally or planned like the rest of Europe for these kids to be in school.

"Right now, if my son doesn't get that place that's sitting there for him... I don't know what will happen to my son or me."

You can listen back to the full interview here:

Mother makes impassioned plea over lack of transport for special needs education

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    


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