Minister for Education Richard Bruton has today announced that the National Council for Special Education will be asked to review support scheme to include children with Down Syndrome.
The Minister’s announcement comes today, on World Down Syndrome Day, following calls made by Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty in the Dáil where he urged the Government to immediately amend the existing scheme to ensure that all children living with the condition are automatically guaranteed access to the programme known as July Provision.
Deputy Doherty said: “The Programme for Government acknowledges that, despite the current supports made available as part of special education provision, children with DS and their families still face great difficulty in accessing services.
“The July Provision scheme provides funding for an extended school year for school-going children with a severe or profound general learning disability or children with autism. Yet, children with Down Syndrome remain ineligible for the scheme as DS is still not considered a qualifying condition for access to the support.
“The Government has already committed to reviewing the July Provision scheme under the advice of the NCSE to examine issues around access and funding with the view to extending July Provision to children with Down syndrome.
“Today March 21st, on what is World Down Syndrome Day, I again called on the Government to give a commitment to extend eligibility for the scheme so that children living with DS and their families can finally access this vital support so that their needs can finally be met.
“In response, the Minister replied to state that in light of my call he will now ask the National Council for Special Education to review the policy in respect of July Provision for children with DS.
“This is of course a very welcome development and I am glad that the Minister has agreed to have this matter examined.
“I am now hopeful that this review will yield a positive outcome for children with DS because, as many parents of younger children with DS will know, the current provision is haphazard and it is therefore crucial that going forward all children with Down syndrome may automatically be guaranteed a place under the programme.”Tags: