It’s said that school days are the best days of your life. Try telling that to the children with special needs and their parents. Due to the cutbacks most, if not all, of the children that had full-time SNA’s (Special Needs Assistants) now have to share them or in some cases only have ‘access’ to them. I have heard of one child with Special Needs only being offered an hour of schooling a day.
Some of you may know that my son Jono has Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyspraxia and kyphoscoliosis. He was lucky enough in that he did have a full-time SNA. Which was all down to the head mistress of the school organising one for us. At no time did we meet the SENO (Special Education Needs Organiser). Jono just would not have functioned in school without his SNA. As his back problem was so severe it affected his ability to write so she did this for him. She also carried his back and books, helped with all his lessons, organised his timetable, took him for a walk if his pain was too much. On the rare occasions where she had to go for a meeting he ended up with school friends having to carry his bag for him…..and we all know how heavy one bag is, let alone two.
So who in their right mind has decided that these children do not need SNA’s. Yes I know the country is in a recession and cutbacks to need to be made, but why are the most vulnerable people in our society being targeted. Why not get rid of the free pre-school places first? I’m not even going to start about the high salaries and expenses the politicians get.
I hope that people realise the SNA cutbacks don’t just impact on those children with special needs, they effect the whole class. To read more about this matter have a look at this great blog.
Also Prime Time did a programme about it last night which is here.
Do our special needs children not have a right to an education?
As soneone with a child in the free childcare scheme (ECCE I think it’s called) I have to say I agree with you. While the scheme is great, we could easily do without it, if it meant that more SNAs could be employed. Of course the Dept of Ed say it’s the fault of the EU/IMF, but I’m sure they didn’t say “get rid of SNAs”, but rather said “cut x amount of spending”.
I agree Dermot, there was no free childcare places when mine were young and we managed. Everything is blamed on the IMF but in my opinion it’s bad management.
Very eloquently said, Val.
Well said Val and thanks for linking to my blog.
I’m reading your post from my laptop and the print is very small, old age you know!, so forgive me if I have this wrong…. your boy has back problems impacting on his performance in school?
Sadly ‘medical care needs’ may be the only way Aspergers/ASD kids, like your boy and mine, will get access to SNA in future 😦
Isn’t it really sad and shocking that a parent may be in a position to say: ‘Thank God my boy has back problems (kidney problems in our case) as that allows him an SNA (or access to SNA) so that he can go to mainstream school.’?
What about the other ASD/Asperger kids without medical conditions who may never get the chance to fulfill their true potential in getting to and through mainstream school? That makes me so sad…and so mad!!
It is a very sad state of affairs.We are lucky that Jono is now out of school because he never would have coped without an SNA. He had to have surgery for his back….another battle because of the cutbacks 😦
I really hope things change soon for everyone concerned.
It affects the child, the parents, and the carers job as well as affecting the the classroom environment I know where you’re coming from Val as Kate has fought long and hard for 11 years to get Milly some one to one assistance.. and she’s completely wheelchair bound and unable to do anything for herself at all. It’s only just been acknowledged by the school and local authorities that Milly is an intelligent young lady because she’s never been given any opportunity to come out from the broken shell she’s trapped inside of – It’s been a tough fight right from the word go.
Poor Milly. I hope she is doing OK.