Parents can't understand why most vulnerable made to suffer
MIRIAM Masterson has been inundated with phone calls and emails of complaint, anger, despair and disappointment over the cut in pre-school provision for children with severe disabilities.
"The parents cannot understand why the most vulnerable in our communities must be made to suffer," Miriam, who also chairs Down Syndrome Dublin which represents 450 families, told the Irish Independent.
Her daughter Julia was fortunate to have been able to avail of a second year in pre-school. She will start in primary school in September, aged six years and eight months.
But now others will only be able to get one full year's free pre-schooling, which Miriam said would have a hugely detrimental effect on their quality of life.
"My daughter was not ready for mainstream before this," she added. "It is through the pre-school process that our children learn social skills, good behaviour, interaction, build confidence and experience inclusion.
"Our children have to endure, on a daily basis, battles with fluctuating hearing loss, trying to adapt to hearing aids, visual impairment and medical problems."
She added that parents of children with Down Syndrome constantly have to fight for their basic rights. "The stress in our lives as parents does not come from having a child with a disability but having to constantly fight for what are the right supports for our children," she said.
"The right supports from the start will see the benefits when our children become adults."