How to help children with disabilities after they leave school
An independent review of the Government’s support for those with disabilities has recommended it should be expanded.
The report, released this week by The National Children’s Commissioner, has been criticised by the Dáil for failing to provide enough detail on what services the Government was offering, and whether they were being used in the most effective way.
The independent report, from Dr James Kelly, concluded that the Government should provide better support to children with learning difficulties as well as those who have had a life-changing disability.
The Government is in the process of updating the support package for people with disabilities.
In the report, Dr Kelly said that in some areas, the Government had been “too lenient” with people with learning disabilities.
He said that while the package provided “some support”, it did not fully cover everyone, and it was not clear how many children could benefit.
“We think there is some support available to a range of children with a range from basic assistance to full access to the curriculum, with some people who would have been eligible for that would have needed additional support, and we think the Government needs to consider that,” he said.
He called for a review of how children with disability were being supported in the provision of services.
“There is a lot of frustration with the Government and we have got a duty to do something about that,” Dr Kelly added.
The Independent Children’s Commission (ICC) report recommends the Government:Provides more information on the type of support children with certain learning disabilities receive; provide a more accurate definition of “learning disability” for those children; and provide a clearer definition of what constitutes a “life-changing” disability.
This will enable those children to get the best possible support and ensure they are not overlooked or neglected, the report recommends.
The Department of Education has not responded to a request for comment.
However, the Department of Children and Family Development has said it is “investigating” the report.
“This review will include considering the impact of the review on our funding to the independent children’s commissioner, and will also consider how to provide a better and more integrated support package to children who have a life changing disability,” a spokesperson said.