Govt Accused Of Failing Children With Autism

The government has been challenged on their record of providing sufficient needs-appropriate learning environments for children with special educational needs, by Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan.

Senator Gavan said: "Government policy forces hundreds of children with autism, and other special educational needs, to go without needs-appropriate learning environments.

"Instead of receiving a needs-appropriate education, they are treated as problematic students – they are put on reduced timetables and left with no option but to spend much of the time they should be in school at home.

"This position is further undermined by the lack of sufficient funding for home tuition, which remains to be an issue this far into the school year.

"The Minister has in his power, since the enactment of the Admission to Schools Act 2018, to ensure that every school across this state has the appropriate level of classes for children with special educational needs. But he does not use it.

"Does Fine Gael envisage a society where half or more of our children with autism just don't continue to second-level education?

"This issue is symptomatic of a government which is negligent in its duties. Not only that, but an obstructive government which is impeding the advancement of equality enshrined in our constitution.

"Education is the keystone in the bridge to opportunity. We have removed that bridge for too many children, unduly burdening too many parents.

"This is a farce, and a total failure of the government's constitutional obligations to these children and their parents.

"There is a clear solution – give these children the time of day that they deserve."

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