Sunday 17 December 2017

'I nearly cried when I heard about the latest cut – it's another battle to fight'

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A MOTHER of a boy with special needs has told how she lives in constant worry about when the next cut to her son's education will come.

While Ruairi Quinn's U-turn on the latest cut to resource hours is welcome, Eleanor Cosgrove from Walterstown, Navan, Co Meath, says she also wants a full reversal in the earlier 15pc cut made to resource hours.

Her son Fergus, who turns seven next month, has Down Syndrome and has been diagnosed with a moderate learning disability.

Even before he started junior infants at Lismullen National School last September, his allocation of 3.5 resource hours a week – recommended by a child psychologist – had already been cut by 15pc.

It means he gets just over half-an-hour with a resource teacher each day.

"You don't know from one day to the next what they're going to jump on for cuts.

DECISION

"I nearly cried when I heard about the latest cut last week. I've been fighting for things for Fergus since he was three. This was another battle to fight when you don't have the time or the energy."

She said Fergus's school had been very supportive and had done all it could to help him. However, in a class of 26 pupils, he needs one-on-one time with his resource teacher to reinforce what is happening in the classroom.

"He has come on quite well. He's up to speed with his class, but we put in a lot of hours at home. Without that he would fall behind," explained Eleanor.

She said any further cut to Fergus's resource hours would render them pointless. "When I heard about the 10pc cut, I thought it's really not going to be worth his while going."

Eleanor said Mr Quinn must now reverse earlier cuts to special education to ensure children with special needs got the education they deserved.

Irish Independent

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