CitationBarnardos. (2006). ChildLinks Issue 1: Children & Special Needs. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/114
AbstractChildren and special needs is the
theme for this issue of ChildLinks.
The overwhelming message which
comes through the various voices of policy
makers, practitioners, parents and people
with a disability is that in the important areas
of early intervention and pre-school provision
there are major difficulties and inadequacies
for children. with special needs,
In the article titled “Inclusive Education for
Children with Special Educational Needs”,
Mary Meaney sets out the National Disability
Authority perspective on the measures that
have been taken since the enactment of the
Special Educational Needs Act, 2004. She
observes that one of the areas of
intervention which has received least
attention is that of pre-school provision.
An example of an individual case of a
Barnardos pre-school in working with a
hearing impaired child is provided ‘in
“Helen's Voice”. This article provides a really
interesting account of how a child can be
integrated into a pre-school and transfer to
a primary school, with appropriate support
and close collaboration by the pre-school
service, the child's parents, the Department
of Education, the Public Health Nurse and
the primary school.
Parents’ isolation, long waiting lists for
assessment and children not receiving the
early interventions that they need are
reported in “Accessible Childcare for All”.
In addition, lack of access to information on
grants, financial pressures, the costs of
transport, lack of access to counselling and
to respite facilities were cited as barriers
experienced by parents of children with
special needs. An initiative which aims to
develop a model of good practice for the
inclusion of disabled children in childcare
settings, is set out in an article provided by the
Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency.
In “Being 17” Caroline Casey gives a funny
and moving account of growing up and
discovering that she had a visual impairment.
Her philosophy is best summed up in her
parting line ”...the only limitations we have
are those we put on ourselves”.
In the final article Fergus Finlay writes of his
personal account as the parent of a child
born with an intellectual disability, It sounds
like every service she ever got had to be
fought for. What impact will the Disability Act make which gives people with disabilities
the right to an assessment, enquiry, appeal,
etc but not a right to services?
How different will it be for children born
with a disability in 2006, who haves the
benefit of the Disability Act and the
Disability Strategy? The National Disability
Authority and the Centre for Early Childhood
Development and Education need to exercise
leadership to ensure major development
and expansion of early years care and
education for children with special needs.