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Leo talks a good game on special needs - now he must bother to do something

Sarah Caden


Families of children with special needs have heard many words of sympathy during lockdown, but are still waiting for action

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

'Are you still bothering with the home-schooling?" That's one way the question is delivered, though how it is phrased depends on who's asking. If it's someone who is, themselves, still bothering with the distance learning, they'll make it sound less like you're making an ass of yourself and wasting your time.

The thing is that I am still bothering with the home-schooling. I'm bothering out of fear that if I let my elder daughter off the hook on what's being sent home by the school, she will start secondary woefully ill-prepared.

I'm bothering because I'm scared that if I don't keep the younger daughter, who has Down syndrome, at the desk every day, reading, writing, doing her maths, she might never manage mainstream school again. I'm bothering so that Covid won't finish off her so far successful experience of mainstream education. I'm bothering because it feels like it is only me, her father and her handful of teachers all pushing to keep this kid on course, keeping her capable of reintegrating into the world.