Ó Domhnaill Challenges Government to support Children with Down Syndrome

Donegal Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has told the Seanad this week that the lack of allocations of education resource hours for children with Down Syndrome attending Mainstream Primary Schools must be urgently addressed.


Challenging the Minister for Education on the issue while moving an adjournment motion on the issue in the Seanad this week the Donegal Senator said; “Down Syndrome is a chromosomal anomaly causing global developmental delay that effects approximately 80 children per year in mainstream primary schools in Ireland. At present, Down Syndrome is not listed as a complex, low incidence disorder meaning that some of these children with Down Syndrome are not entitled to resource hours which is estimated at approximately 40% or 25 to 30 children per year.”


“There are 82 Children in County Donegal with Down Syndrome who are not receiving resource hours – this is absolutely wrong.”


“I believe the current  system of resource hours discriminates against children with Down Syndrome as they are required to have a second disability in order to access resource hours as set out in Circular 02/05.”


“I am calling on the Minister for Education and the Government to recognise Down Syndrome  in its entirety and its own right. The current Education system places children with Down Syndrome in an unfair position by not supporting children to the degree that other disabilities are supported.”


“Children with Down Syndrome deserve to be cherished equality and to pursue the same level of educational advancement as every other child within the education system.”


In response  Minister of State  at the Department of Education Ciaran Cannon outlined; “ I wish to advise the Senator that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a formal role under Section 20 of the Education for persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act, 2004 to advise the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to any matter relating to the education of children and others with disabilities. They have been asked to provide policy advice on the issue of whether Down Syndrome should be reclassified as a low incidence disability in all instances, regardless of assessed cognitive ability. The Report will be presented to the Minister shortly.”


Senator Ó Domhnaill concluded by saying; “ It is absolutely essential that Down Syndrome be reclassified as a low incidence disability so that children with the condition can avail of the full provision or resource teaching hours.”

Posted: May 15, 2013     |     Categories: Uncategorized