ChildLinks Issue 2: Children with Special Needs

Barnardos. (2003). ChildLinks Issue 2: Children with Special Needs.
Children Living Without is the title of an advocacy and public awareness campaign focusing on child poverty which is currently being run by Barnardos. Children going to school hungry e Children going to school with no socks or underwear e Children dropping out of school at 6th class, but nobody notices e White bread for dinner again e Children bullied because of a lisp — but it will be too late by the time it takes to get a speech therapy appointment in two years. These snapshots of child poverty may be reminiscent of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes but actually they are drawn from Barnardos' experience with children and families in post- Celtic Tiger Ireland. The government's own publication The National Children's Strategy: Our Children — Their Lives refers to the existence of child poverty as a denial of the basic right of a child to an adequate standard of living, as guaranteed by the UN Convention on the rights of the child which Ireland ratified in 1992. It is a scandal and simply unacceptable that in spite of numerous reports, research studies and government commitments 90,000 children live in consistent poverty. Barnardos and many other like-minded agencies will be making the case for child poverty to be addressed by the forthcoming budget, across a range of measures. The time for action is now, The concept of Children Living Without will be familiar to many children with special needs and by that | am referring to inadequacies that exist in service provision relative to children's needs. Indeed for families living on low incomes, the costs associated with disability can cause great hardship. Children with special needs can face major barriers to their participation in everyday life in many areas, such as childcare, education, transport, play and recreation. It is timely in this the European Year of People with Disabilities that the theme of this edition of ChildLinks is children with special needs and features articles on the experience of young people living with disability, models of inclusion, public play provision as well as models of practice. At the time of writing, the disability sector awaits the publication of the promised rights based Disability Bill. On the other hand the Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2003 has been generally welcomed. Both of these pieces of legislation will have profound implications on the well-being of children with special needs in the years to come.