Children with Down syndrome will be included in the Department of Education’s plans for this year’s summer education programme, it has been confirmed.
The confirmation from Minister Joe McHugh has been much welcomed by Down Syndrome Ireland, other disability groups and parents.
Until now, July Provision has provided access to an extended school year only for children with autism and children with a severe or profound intellectual disability. As a result, many children with Down syndrome were not eligible for the programme.
Minister McHugh will bring proposals on the alternative programme to Government next week.
Down Syndrome Ireland Interim CEO Deirdre Saul said: “We are glad that the Minister has listened to our concerns and the concerns of parents of children with Down syndrome and acted. All children with Down syndrome have complex learning needs and will need support during the Summer months to prepare for their return to education. Some 1,200 more children with Down syndrome will now be eligible for the programme as a result.”
Ms Saul continued: “We will continue to call on the Government to make the extended school year available in the future for all children with Down syndrome. We congratulate all the organisations and families involved in this long campaign and for having their voices heard. We look forward to seeing practical, accessible options being provided to support families this Summer and into the future.”