Dyslexic student refused 'reader'
A Wexford student who has dyslexia has said she has "given up hope" of passing her Leaving Cert after the State failed to grant a reader to help her during her exams.
Andrea Tse (17) from Camolin says she has been left "heartbroken and dejected" by the move, especially since she had been assigned a reader for her Junior Cert.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the FCJ Bunclody student said she has been struggling with the papers so far.
"It is really tough and all I can hope for is a pass, but it is very hard. I had English paper two today, and I didn't get it finished on time because it took me so long to read the paper. I missed out on 40 marks," she said.
She now fears she won't get the points to pursue her dream college course in fashion.
Children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties are offered readers based on the Scheme of Reasonable Accommodations at the Certificate Examinations (RACE). The State Examinations Commission (SEC) operates the eligibility programme through the school system.
An SEC spokesperson has said applications for readers at Leaving Certificate level "must show evidence of a specific learning difficulty" to qualify for the scheme.
"Reasonable accommodations can only be provided in accordance with the principles and requirements of the scheme. Each case is considered on its own merits. It is not subject to any budgetary cutbacks, and the SEC approves all applications that meet the conditions of eligibility."
However, Andrea's mum Catherine has said the system is highly flawed and needs further examination.
"Andrea was given material to read that she is familiar with and had been studying for over two years. That is of little use to anyone. I have been fighting this tooth and nail and it is exhausting. We have raised the issue with everyone from the school to the Department of Education and our objections have fallen on deaf ears.
"Andrea needs this, she has been certified with severe dyslexia. It is putting stress on her that she just does not need," she added. "I have even gone to the Children's Ombudsman to complain about this and they told me they had 51 complaints this year. It is an absolute joke."