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 Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs

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PostSubject: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:24 pm

This makes me feel violent:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0211/breaking31.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:27 pm

This and the cuts in Travellers Ed and book grants are what the teachers should be striking about (amongst other things).
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:31 pm

This is the last sting of a dying wasp.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:32 pm

The Department of Education is to cut special teacher support for children with mild learning disabilities in 119 national schools across the country, it was confirmed today.

Up to 900 children in 128 primary school classes could be affected when the move is implemented in the next school year. The pupils will now be taught by mainstream teachers in regular classes.

A spokesman for Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said he wrote to the schools yesterday to inform them the positions were being cut due to the falling numbers of pupils with special needs in the classes.

At present, each class has to have nine or more pupils requiring special needs assistance to qualify for extra support.

<>

Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) general secretary John Carr said he was “shocked” at the "indefensible" decision. "On a day when €8 billion is being provided to bail out banks the Department of Education is axing €7 million in funding to special needs children,” he said. "The decision was made purely on financial grounds.”


It's starting big style, isn't it?

I think you're right cactus - teachers are full of shit.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:34 pm

Anyone want to start a new country up ??
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:36 pm

Quote :
I think you're right cactus - teachers are full of shit

Auditor #9 What a Face !!!! I didn't mean that. Only a little bit anyway. I think they shoud defend their wages and pensions too, unless and until there is an equitable and sane plan for living within our means.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:41 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Quote :
I think you're right cactus - teachers are full of shit

Auditor #9 What a Face !!!! I didn't mean that. Only a little bit anyway. I think they shoud defend their wages and pensions too, unless and until there is an equitable and sane plan for living within our means.
Ok, twas I who said they were, twas you who said they should be striking over this not wages.

Batt O'Keefe is on News At One with O'rourke now, defending it.

The worst thing is perhaps it was erected in the first place without thought for the future or the long term.

Long term here tends a fantasy indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:50 pm

O'Keefe said the media figures are wrong and that 530 children would be affected not 900.

Someone on Radio 1 now in anticipation of Joe Duffy later... 7 billion for the banks he's saying, 600k & 140k per year for Neary but f* all for the kids.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:01 pm

It would be interesting to hear from Kate P on how this works.

Are these specialist fully qualified teachers who are being got rid of?

O'Keefe said that the children "will still have special needs assistants and access to a resource or support teacher".

Am I right in thinking that "special needs assistants" have no training and are not teachers?"

What is a "resource or support teacher"?
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:06 pm

The only thing I can see here is the usual "pass the stick of exploding dynamite" downwards as per usual in our totally unreformed public services.

This is exactly what was going to happen - the frontline gets hit first and the weakest minorities are first amongst them.

What about rationalising some of the umpteen command structures in the Department itself?

These "highly qualified individuals" would have no problem getting highly renumerated positions in the private sector according to themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:20 pm

er, we still HAVE a private sector?? Very Happy

I think this is total shythe. The Neary thing is a total disgrace. Part of my reluctant support for the "pensions levy" (with which both spouse and self will be whacked) was on the basis that it might preserve services such as those outlined above. It appears however, that what is to be protected is the fat pensions and bonuses of the financial classes.

Prepare the applied geology, people, it's protest time. I am only happy to take the pain if I see the bankers foregoing their bonuses. And I don't just mean at the executive level either. (although fair play to IL&P for voluntarily cutting theirs)
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:27 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
It would be interesting to hear from Kate P on how this works.

Are these specialist fully qualified teachers who are being got rid of?

O'Keefe said that the children "will still have special needs assistants and access to a resource or support teacher".

Am I right in thinking that "special needs assistants" have no training and are not teachers?"

What is a "resource or support teacher"?
To my more limited knowledge than Kate P, a Resource Teacher may not necessarily teach "Special Needs" children - they often teach one-to-one or in small groups in Primary Schools and in my experience they will cover the basic primary school skills to supplement the main class - in busy schools.

I'm not sure if they have to be qualified as teachers nor am I familar with the ratios where a Resource Teacher is required. I'd imagine they have to be qualified in some discipline which includes speech therapy, phonetics, etc. - perhaps they are often Montessori teachers. I worked with one of these teachers but never asked her what her qualifications were.

As far as I'm aware, Special Needs Assistants need only a background in childcare to qualify - some teaching experience is a bonus and now you see courses offered which cost €1000 where you can get an "SNA" qualification. See how industries spring up around these things?? I just heard someone on ClareFM this morning complaining they'd done that course and now the country is cutting that work. As far as I'm aware again, SNAs often work with literally children with special needs - autistic children, perhaps physically or intellectually disabled children.

Kate P will know more though.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:53 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
It would be interesting to hear from Kate P on how this works.

Are these specialist fully qualified teachers who are being got rid of?

O'Keefe said that the children "will still have special needs assistants and access to a resource or support teacher".

Am I right in thinking that "special needs assistants" have no training and are not teachers?"

What is a "resource or support teacher"?
To my more limited knowledge than Kate P, a Resource Teacher may not necessarily teach "Special Needs" children - they often teach one-to-one or in small groups in Primary Schools and in my experience they will cover the basic primary school skills to supplement the main class - in busy schools.

I'm not sure if they have to be qualified as teachers nor am I familar with the ratios where a Resource Teacher is required. I'd imagine they have to be qualified in some discipline which includes speech therapy, phonetics, etc. - perhaps they are often Montessori teachers. I worked with one of these teachers but never asked her what her qualifications were.

As far as I'm aware, Special Needs Assistants need only a background in childcare to qualify - some teaching experience is a bonus and now you see courses offered which cost €1000 where you can get an "SNA" qualification. See how industries spring up around these things?? I just heard someone on ClareFM this morning complaining they'd done that course and now the country is cutting that work. As far as I'm aware again, SNAs often work with literally children with special needs - autistic children, perhaps physically or intellectually disabled children.

Kate P will know more though.

Resource teachers are qualified teachers. They do the vital, one to one teaching which SEN kids cannot do in a classroom. The most 'resource hours' a child can have in a week is 5 so that many children are spending a lot of time in the mainstream unable to keep up with what is going on. Teachers do their best but in a room of 25, 30 or more others, how much can a human being be expected to do? They have to cover the curriculum. If they are lucky the children will have full or part-time SNA (special needs assistant, not qualified but usually have a basic introductory training in working with children with special needs) to help ensure that they focus on other tasks that might be set them by the teacher while s/he gets on with the other teaching - and also to look after basic material needs. A lot of kids would forget to eat their lunch or need help putting coats on and doing basic things. If there is no SNA these kids can be very disruptive as many cannot keep quiet or sit still for too long without supervision. They need to be supervised in class and in the playground. These cuts could be a nightmare for schools and other pupils.

Some schools have set up special education units in their schools where there may be two or three dedicated teachers working on an individual and group basis with SEN kids. The idea is to allow integrated education as much as possible during activites that are suitable (story telling, general discussion or whatever). I don't understand how the funding for these units work but they are a good idea. However, the most vulnerable in these cuts are those with conditions like pervasive developmental disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder which though they are incredibly debilitating are frequently described as 'mild'. Those with moderate or severe diagnoses will qualify for most special ed units while the 'mild' people are as much as possible put into classrooms, with SNAs and resource teacher back-up if that is allocated - but it is incredibly hard to get. This is the group that's threatened and quite frankly Batt O' Keeffe is lying through his teeth about the numbers from what I've been hearing on the ground. We need more details so will be following the INTO website to see exactly what it is about.


Last edited by Aragon on Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:00 pm

It's far from an agreeable move but the title is terrible. Less of this P.ie-style sensationalism and over-the-top language would do us well.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:14 am

Red herring folks. Way too much of a coincidence coming out the same 24 hours as the latest Anglo leak and the bank recap.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:40 am

Lots of things going on here...

Please change the title, it's a deterrent to rational discussion.

Teachers did not see this coming. There was a meeting of teachers last night in Portlaoise reported here. Had there been any expectation of it, it would have been mentioned and would certainly have made the paper.

This is not about special needs in general - it's about what used to be known as mild mental handicap - now known as mild general learning disability and the Minister is right in some ways; numbers of those children are falling and more and more of them are being mainstreamed from the beginning.

There is an indication that the resource and SNA assistance will continue and that what's happening is a move to streamline resources out of an area where they are less needed so that they can be used in areas where they are more necessary - that 7m would go a long way towards providing SNAs and resource teachers.

Is it the right thing to do? Hmmm. It isn't ever the right thing to make education cuts and teachers I've been speaking to lately are worried about how they will manage the extra numbers as it is with less help.

There isn't enough detail in the article about the delivery of the services to know how exactly it will impact on people - for example, will two underquota schools lose a teacher but then share one teacher. Resource teachers work like this.

In any case parents and children and teaachers will all suffer as a result of any cuts in ed.

I'm more than a little bothered by the way in which the opposition reps are jumping on the bandwagon. Mild General Learning Disability is not just 'special needs' and it's unfortunate to see the way they ignore the nuances and go for the soundbite.


SNAs do not supervise children; that is not their role. Rather they are employed to help children with disabilities of various kinds to function to the best of their ability in a classroom and they all do very different work. Those who work with children whose disability is on the autistic spectrum will be helping kids follow timetables, deal with changes in routine, organise themselves, eat when they get distracted by the things which fascinate them, and so on.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:46 am

floatingingalway wrote:
Red herring folks. Way too much of a coincidence coming out the same 24 hours as the latest Anglo leak and the bank recap.
If that was true then it would be a vile attack.

That's a horrible thought - how the hell did that occur to you?!

Not sure I'll sleep now ....
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:57 am

Kate P wrote:
Lots of things going on here...

Please change the title, it's a deterrent to rational discussion.

Teachers did not see this coming. There was a meeting of teachers last night in Portlaoise reported here. Had there been any expectation of it, it would have been mentioned and would certainly have made the paper.

This is not about special needs in general - it's about what used to be known as mild mental handicap - now known as mild general learning disability and the Minister is right in some ways; numbers of those children are falling and more and more of them are being mainstreamed from the beginning.

There is an indication that the resource and SNA assistance will continue and that what's happening is a move to streamline resources out of an area where they are less needed so that they can be used in areas where they are more necessary - that 7m would go a long way towards providing SNAs and resource teachers.

Is it the right thing to do? Hmmm. It isn't ever the right thing to make education cuts and teachers I've been speaking to lately are worried about how they will manage the extra numbers as it is with less help.

There isn't enough detail in the article about the delivery of the services to know how exactly it will impact on people - for example, will two underquota schools lose a teacher but then share one teacher. Resource teachers work like this.

In any case parents and children and teaachers will all suffer as a result of any cuts in ed.

I'm more than a little bothered by the way in which the opposition reps are jumping on the bandwagon. Mild General Learning Disability is not just 'special needs' and it's unfortunate to see the way they ignore the nuances and go for the soundbite.


SNAs do not supervise children; that is not their role. Rather they are employed to help children with disabilities of various kinds to function to the best of their ability in a classroom and they all do very different work. Those who work with children whose disability is on the autistic spectrum will be helping kids follow timetables, deal with changes in routine, organise themselves, eat when they get distracted by the things which fascinate them, and so on.
Understanding & logic, there’s nowt like it for chasing away the red mist, of course if I said it I'd be the devil's spawn.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:59 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
floatingingalway wrote:
Red herring folks. Way too much of a coincidence coming out the same 24 hours as the latest Anglo leak and the bank recap.
If that was true then it would be a vile attack.

That's a horrible thought - how the hell did that occur to you?!

Not sure I'll sleep now ....
Well, just think of the things that slipped through in the budget while everyone got hot and bothered about medical cards. Red herrings are typical FF tactics.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:00 am

floatingingalway wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
floatingingalway wrote:
Red herring folks. Way too much of a coincidence coming out the same 24 hours as the latest Anglo leak and the bank recap.
If that was true then it would be a vile attack.

That's a horrible thought - how the hell did that occur to you?!

Not sure I'll sleep now ....
Well, just think of the things that slipped through in the budget while everyone got hot and bothered about medical cards. Red herrings are typical FF tactics.
The bastards, nay, the bad bastards.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:16 am

Please change the title, it's a deterrent to rational discussion

Do you mean to be patronising Kate P or does it just come naturally? I take it you DON'T have children with SEN, then. Goodness, you are so full of what is good medicine for other people! How lucky we are to have a Mrs Sensible to come along and tell us all, nanny like, what we all jolly well ought to be doing if we are to keep Toy Town looking like, well, Toy Town. You eat up your greens too, dearie.

Meanwhile, the reality is this - and forgive my ire because what you have said above is an absolute outrage against the truth of the situation and the victims of what has been announced today - the more so because people on this thread seem to think you are some sort of authority on the subject when you patently are not - teacher or no. Bear in mind that I am the parent of three of the children you consign to relative unimportance and the wife of a person who spends every day of his life working with and teaching such children and managing and training teachers who teach them too. It is much too serious for too many people for your misrepresntations to go unchallenged:

Quote :
This is not about special needs in general - it's about what used to be known as mild mental handicap - now known as mild general learning disability and the Minister is right in some ways; numbers of those children are falling and more and more of them are being mainstreamed from the beginning

WTF does THAT mean? Numbers of those children are most definitely NOT falling. Numbers of those children are not being DIAGNOSED. Reason? Most schools, because of rules introduced by *****face Hanafin when she was eucational vampire in chief, are limited to between 2 and 4 psychological assessments per year, reagrdless of the numbers who need them. It is not now an accident that this claim of reduced numbers is being made by these lying, manipulative bastards who know full well why the numbers have 'fallen'. (Just to make sure of this, they also ruled that the state would not recognise privately assessed children. Nice, eh?)

Quote :
There is an indication that the resource and SNA assistance will continue and that what's happening is a move to streamline resources out of an area where they are less needed so that they can be used in areas where they are more necessary - that 7m would go a long way towards providing SNAs and resource teachers.

Look at the contradictions and finessing in that lot. We begin with the 'indication' that resource and SNA are continuting but end up with an admission that they are, in fact, being moved to another area - so they are NOT continuing at all for the targetted children. There is to be NO increase in provision for more seriously disabled children.

My youngest son has what is termed 'mild' developmental disability. He has an IQ of 67, that is to say he is actually intellecutally disabled. At 12 years of age, he cannot read or write, recite the alphabet beyond the letter B, cannot play team games because he cannot follow more than one instruction at a time, is profoundly sensitive to sensory stimuli and so easily alarmed, agitated or distracted, is also autistic which causes him huge difficulties socialising and cooperating with people around him (though he tries really hard). He also has verbal dyspraxia which makes his speech difficult for others to understand and he has severe verbal comprehension problems. He has no idea what the teacher in his classroom is talking about most of the time, educationally, and without his SNA would be utterly unable to cope or cooperate in the classroom. Because of minor and major motor problems he cannot perform ordinary tasks like tieing his shoelaces or buttons and is prone to falling over, bumping into things and people, breaking things. He is forgetful and a danger to himself if he is not supervised at all times - ie he could easily wander from a playground if he saw something that interested him passing by - a policeman, a fire engine, an interesting bird - no matter how often he was told that it was dangerous - he would completely forget about that. This is your 'mildly' 'mentally handicapped' child. There is SFA in the reactions today that are about 'nuances' our 'soundbites' where parents are concerned. Again, this is a vile and unspeakable cut in services against some of the most needy and dependent of Irish children. I've resolved that I will not send my child to school if he is not adequately and safely supported. Without his SNA, it would be abusive to expect a child like him to cope and to function without help. If his resource hours are cut, school will be virtually pointless to him educationally.

Opposition politicians be damned - you are right about them, they are a bunch of hypocrites about this and have sold out on SEN children whenever they were required to give hard comittments to back up their 'outrage'. But today's announcement is another point altogether. These children that you so easily dismiss are not just deserving of the little they have, there is a desperate need to support them more and better and to put an end to the outrageous policy of suppressing identification of their true numbers.


Last edited by Aragon on Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:37 am

Aragon wrote:
Please change the title, it's a deterrent to rational discussion

Do you mean to be patronising Kate P or does it just come naturally? I take it you DON'T have children with SEN, then. Goodness, you are so full of what is good medicine for other people! How lucky we are to have a Mrs Sensible to come along and tell us all, nanny like, what we all jolly well ought to be doing if we are to keep Toy Town looking like, well, Toy Town. You eat up your greens too, dearie.

Meanwhile, the reality is this - and forgive my ire because what you have said above is an absolute outrage against the truth of the situation and the victims of what has been announced today - the more so because people on this thread seem to think you are some sort of authority on the subject when you patently are not - teacher or no. Bear in mind that I am the parent of three of the children you consign to relative unimportance and the wife of a person who spends every day of his life working with and teaching such children and managing and training teachers who teach them too. It is much too serious for too many people for your misrepresntations to go unchallenged:

I think it's you who have the monopoly on patronising, Aragon. I don't pretend to be an authority on anything. I'd be delighted for you to challenge and misrepresentations on my behalf.

However I stand over the comment on the title and think you should moderate it and I'd also like if the OP had given some detail rather than a one-line emotional response to a newspaper article which leaves out more than it explains. I'm not in the habit of going off the rails with fury on the basis of bits of information - and I don't intend to start merely to assuage you or to fuel your constantly burning fire of indignation.

I don't have children with SEN, but that doesn't make me a bad person or incompetent to discuss the topic.

Quote :
This is not about special needs in general - it's about what used to be known as mild mental handicap - now known as mild general learning disability and the Minister is right in some ways; numbers of those children are falling and more and more of them are being mainstreamed from the beginning

Quote :
WTF does THAT mean? Numbers of those children are most definitely NOT falling. Numbers of those children are not being DIAGNOSED. Reason? Most schools, because of rules introduced by bitchface Hanafin when she was eucational vampire in chief, are limited to between 2 and 4 psychological assessments per year, reagrdless of the numbers who need them. It is not now an accident that this claim of reduced numbers is being made by these lying, manipulative bastards who know full well why the numbers have 'fallen'. (Just to make sure of this, they also ruled that the state would not recognise privately assessed children. Nice, eh?)

Firstly let me make the point that the majority of children with mild general learning disability have their diagnosis outside of school because their issues are wide-ranging and are most obviously developmental in nature and parents pick up on them very quickly. They have a very low IQ which is not testable in the practical IQ test sense that we are familiar with until they are functionally literate but their needs are generally recognised and addressed long before this.

The SESS gives some information about the indicators from the SERC report on www.sess.ie

Quote :



  • Delayed conceptual development;
  • Slow speech and language development;
  • Limited ability to abstract and generalise;
  • Limited attention-span;
  • Poor retention ability;
  • Poor adaptive behaviour;
  • Inappropriate or immature personal behaviour;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Emotional disturbance;
  • General clumsiness and lack of co-ordination and of gross and fine motor skills.




The issue of psychological assessments is less relevant though I know you're happy to throw it into any old discussion and it's my understanding anyway that the number of assessments in schools under the NEPS scheme is based on the population of the school. I think it might be 2-4 per 100, not 2-4 per school but I'll check that later.

Parents have pushed for years for inclusivity and the policy of the department at the behest of parents is for 'mainstreaming' - I hate that word but it's the currency. Children with mild general learning disability can often be integrated into the classroom more easily than students with autism or Asperger's syndrome, blindness... a host of other needs because teachers are trained to deal with mixed ability, even if they're not well enough trained to deal with specific special needs.

As a rule, despite reports to the contrary, teachers are compassionate, caring and have the students' best interest at heart. As someone who has taught children with MLD I can tell you that caring for their emotional needs and differentiating to manage their educational needs means they can often function very well in a mainstream class. You also forget that for every child with MLD there are at least 25 more who learn to love and work with the classmate they don't always understand.

I'll give you an example of a boy with MLD who came into my first year language class with what would be considered profound needs for a mixed ability class. Apart from his severe intellectual disadvantage for language, his physical dyspraxia and his emotional needs. He was hard work and his classmates found him hard work. He had no SNA, I taught most of the class beside him and paired him with kind and helpful brighter kids and as a class we worked hard to understand his needs and to care for him as a person. He did his tests orally and passed every one of them at his level.

We had a major breakthrough early in the year when I discovered that he could count to ten in the language I taught him - he had a wonderful older brother who had taught him. So I sat in his seat, he took my chalk and stood at the front of the class and taught his classmates the numbers 1-10. He chose who he'd ask, he corrected them, he ran the class - a little crazily but it didn't matter, everyone learned lots of lessons that day, it was a powerful transformative moment. Being centre stage his classmates got to see him function at his level and achieve success I'd love to say he was a model student after that - he wasn't at all, but he experienced success that the whole class could build on and in your system he'd be isolated in a room with three other differently abled children. I'm not buying that. There's no need for it.

He plays rugby, goes on trips, does everything that everyone else does and experiences moments of tremendous sadness and frustration when he can't join in at the same level. But he experiences the whole range of social experience and opportunity. And that's because he's not segregated, though he does get quite a bit of one-to-one help. Guess what class he refused to leave for one-to-one, despite all predictions that he'd never cope in a foreign language class?

This is why 'numbers are going down.' The numbers who seek to be in special units is going down because of the desire for mainstreaming and the seachange in understanding, attitudes and acceptance and skills.


As always, there's a spectrum of needs for children with mild general learning disability as there is with every other 'condition.'

Quote :


Quote :
There is an indication that the resource and SNA assistance will continue and that what's happening is a move to streamline resources out of an area where they are less needed so that they can be used in areas where they are more necessary - that 7m would go a long way towards providing SNAs and resource teachers.

Look at the contradictions and finessing in that lot. We begin with the 'indication' that resource and SNA are continuting but end up with an admission that they are, in fact, being moved to another area - so they are NOT continuing at all for the targetted children. There is to be NO increase in provision for more seriously disabled children.


You may be inspired to draw that conclusion from a newspaper article. I'm not going to draw definitive conclusions - hence the word 'indications'.

The highlighted bit shows that you clearly don't understand the issues; the point is that the targetted children, as far as I can see will be getting different help, not necessarily no help.



Quote :
My youngest son has what is termed 'mild' developmental disability. He has an IQ of 67, that is to say he is actually intellecutally disabled. At 12 years of age, he cannot read or write, recite the alphabet beyond the letter B, cannot play team games because he cannot follow more than one instruction at a time, is profoundly sensitive to sensory stimuli and so easily alarmed, agitated or distracted, is also autistic which causes him huge difficulties socialising and cooperating with people around him (though he tries really hard). He also has verbal dyspraxia which makes his speech difficult for others to understand and he has severe verbal comprehension problems. He has no idea what the teacher in his classroom is talking about most of the time, educationally, and without his SNA would be utterly unable to cope or cooperate in the classroom. Because of minor and major motor problems he cannot perform ordinary tasks like tieing his shoelaces or buttons and is prone to falling over, bumping into things and people, breaking things. He is forgetful and a danger to himself if he is not supervised at all times - ie he could easily wander from a playground if he saw something that interested him passing by - a policeman, a fire engine, an interesting bird - no matter how often he was told that it was dangerous - he would completely forget about that. This is your 'mildly' 'mentally handicapped' child.

I will not engage with you in a discussion about your children when you abuse definitions. Your son clearly has a multiplicity of issues that range far beyond MLD, including verbal dyspraxia and autism - neither of which are indicators of MLD. But you already know that.


Quote :
There is SFA in the reactions today that are about 'nuances' our 'soundbites' where parents are concerned. Again, this is a vile and unspeakable cut in services against some of the most needy and dependent of Irish children. I've resolved that I will not send my child to school if he is not adequately and safely supported. Without his SNA, it would be abusive to expect a child like him to cope and to function without help. If his resource hours are cut, school will be virtually pointless to him educationally.

You've moved into an entirely different area here. Has your son lost his SNA? Is he going to lose his SNA? It would be a tragedy if he does considering the needs you outline and considering those needs, it seems entirely unlikely that he will. In any case what does that have to do with the article that you posted?

Quote :
Opposition politicians be damned - you are right about them, they are a bunch of hypocrites about this and have sold out on SEN children whenever they were required to give hard comittments to back up their 'outrage'. But today's announcement is another point altogether. These children that you so easily dismiss are not just deserving of the little they have, there is a desperate need to support them more and better and to put an end to the outrageous policy of suppressing identification of their true numbers.

Be very careful, Aragon. I'm not dismissing the children; I'm dismissing the hysterical, harpish response to fragments of information and your deliberate misinterpretation of the situation. If you are as well informed and experienced as you claim to be, your handling of the information on this thread can only indicate that you are intentionally making political hay out of this.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:55 am

This is obviously an inflammatory subject even if just listening to Joe Duffy was anything to go by yesterday so please for the sake of the presentation of argument along with clarity of information, facts and data that will be their own judge, have a quick peek at the thing below before we all go on.

http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif

It is a subject that has outraged many but continued outrage here will not help us keep our heads so please do your utmost to regulate language that will inflame it further.

As I aaid above, facts will do the judging in the end.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:19 pm

Kate P wrote:
Aragon wrote:
Please change the title, it's a deterrent to rational discussion

Do you mean to be patronising Kate P or does it just come naturally? I take it you DON'T have children with SEN, then. Goodness, you are so full of what is good medicine for other people! How lucky we are to have a Mrs Sensible to come along and tell us all, nanny like, what we all jolly well ought to be doing if we are to keep Toy Town looking like, well, Toy Town. You eat up your greens too, dearie.

Meanwhile, the reality is this - and forgive my ire because what you have said above is an absolute outrage against the truth of the situation and the victims of what has been announced today - the more so because people on this thread seem to think you are some sort of authority on the subject when you patently are not - teacher or no. Bear in mind that I am the parent of three of the children you consign to relative unimportance and the wife of a person who spends every day of his life working with and teaching such children and managing and training teachers who teach them too. It is much too serious for too many people for your misrepresntations to go unchallenged:

I think it's you who have the monopoly on patronising, Aragon. I don't pretend to be an authority on anything. I'd be delighted for you to challenge and misrepresentations on my behalf.

However I stand over the comment on the title and think you should moderate it and I'd also like if the OP had given some detail rather than a one-line emotional response to a newspaper article which leaves out more than it explains. I'm not in the habit of going off the rails with fury on the basis of bits of information - and I don't intend to start merely to assuage you or to fuel your constantly burning fire of indignation.

I don't have children with SEN, but that doesn't make me a bad person or incompetent to discuss the topic.

Quote :
This is not about special needs in general - it's about what used to be known as mild mental handicap - now known as mild general learning disability and the Minister is right in some ways; numbers of those children are falling and more and more of them are being mainstreamed from the beginning

Quote :
WTF does THAT mean? Numbers of those children are most definitely NOT falling. Numbers of those children are not being DIAGNOSED. Reason? Most schools, because of rules introduced by bitchface Hanafin when she was eucational vampire in chief, are limited to between 2 and 4 psychological assessments per year, reagrdless of the numbers who need them. It is not now an accident that this claim of reduced numbers is being made by these lying, manipulative bastards who know full well why the numbers have 'fallen'. (Just to make sure of this, they also ruled that the state would not recognise privately assessed children. Nice, eh?)

Firstly let me make the point that the majority of children with mild general learning disability have their diagnosis outside of school because their issues are wide-ranging and are most obviously developmental in nature and parents pick up on them very quickly. They have a very low IQ which is not testable in the practical IQ test sense that we are familiar with until they are functionally literate but their needs are generally recognised and addressed long before this.

The SESS gives some information about the indicators from the SERC report on www.sess.ie

Quote :



  • Delayed conceptual development;
  • Slow speech and language development;
  • Limited ability to abstract and generalise;
  • Limited attention-span;
  • Poor retention ability;
  • Poor adaptive behaviour;
  • Inappropriate or immature personal behaviour;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Emotional disturbance;
  • General clumsiness and lack of co-ordination and of gross and fine motor skills.





The issue of psychological assessments is less relevant though I know you're happy to throw it into any old discussion and it's my understanding anyway that the number of assessments in schools under the NEPS scheme is based on the population of the school. I think it might be 2-4 per 100, not 2-4 per school but I'll check that later.

Parents have pushed for years for inclusivity and the policy of the department at the behest of parents is for 'mainstreaming' - I hate that word but it's the currency. Children with mild general learning disability can often be integrated into the classroom more easily than students with autism or Asperger's syndrome, blindness... a host of other needs because teachers are trained to deal with mixed ability, even if they're not well enough trained to deal with specific special needs.

As a rule, despite reports to the contrary, teachers are compassionate, caring and have the students' best interest at heart. As someone who has taught children with MLD I can tell you that caring for their emotional needs and differentiating to manage their educational needs means they can often function very well in a mainstream class. You also forget that for every child with MLD there are at least 25 more who learn to love and work with the classmate they don't always understand.

I'll give you an example of a boy with MLD who came into my first year language class with what would be considered profound needs for a mixed ability class. Apart from his severe intellectual disadvantage for language, his physical dyspraxia and his emotional needs. He was hard work and his classmates found him hard work. He had no SNA, I taught most of the class beside him and paired him with kind and helpful brighter kids and as a class we worked hard to understand his needs and to care for him as a person. He did his tests orally and passed every one of them at his level.

We had a major breakthrough early in the year when I discovered that he could count to ten in the language I taught him - he had a wonderful older brother who had taught him. So I sat in his seat, he took my chalk and stood at the front of the class and taught his classmates the numbers 1-10. He chose who he'd ask, he corrected them, he ran the class - a little crazily but it didn't matter, everyone learned lots of lessons that day, it was a powerful transformative moment. Being centre stage his classmates got to see him function at his level and achieve success I'd love to say he was a model student after that - he wasn't at all, but he experienced success that the whole class could build on and in your system he'd be isolated in a room with three other differently abled children. I'm not buying that. There's no need for it.

He plays rugby, goes on trips, does everything that everyone else does and experiences moments of tremendous sadness and frustration when he can't join in at the same level. But he experiences the whole range of social experience and opportunity. And that's because he's not segregated, though he does get quite a bit of one-to-one help. Guess what class he refused to leave for one-to-one, despite all predictions that he'd never cope in a foreign language class?

This is why 'numbers are going down.' The numbers who seek to be in special units is going down because of the desire for mainstreaming and the seachange in understanding, attitudes and acceptance and skills.


As always, there's a spectrum of needs for children with mild general learning disability as there is with every other 'condition.'

Quote :


Quote :
There is an indication that the resource and SNA assistance will continue and that what's happening is a move to streamline resources out of an area where they are less needed so that they can be used in areas where they are more necessary - that 7m would go a long way towards providing SNAs and resource teachers.

Look at the contradictions and finessing in that lot. We begin with the 'indication' that resource and SNA are continuting but end up with an admission that they are, in fact, being moved to another area - so they are NOT continuing at all for the targetted children. There is to be NO increase in provision for more seriously disabled children.


You may be inspired to draw that conclusion from a newspaper article. I'm not going to draw definitive conclusions - hence the word 'indications'.

The highlighted bit shows that you clearly don't understand the issues; the point is that the targetted children, as far as I can see will be getting different help, not necessarily no help.



Quote :
My youngest son has what is termed 'mild' developmental disability. He has an IQ of 67, that is to say he is actually intellecutally disabled. At 12 years of age, he cannot read or write, recite the alphabet beyond the letter B, cannot play team games because he cannot follow more than one instruction at a time, is profoundly sensitive to sensory stimuli and so easily alarmed, agitated or distracted, is also autistic which causes him huge difficulties socialising and cooperating with people around him (though he tries really hard). He also has verbal dyspraxia which makes his speech difficult for others to understand and he has severe verbal comprehension problems. He has no idea what the teacher in his classroom is talking about most of the time, educationally, and without his SNA would be utterly unable to cope or cooperate in the classroom. Because of minor and major motor problems he cannot perform ordinary tasks like tieing his shoelaces or buttons and is prone to falling over, bumping into things and people, breaking things. He is forgetful and a danger to himself if he is not supervised at all times - ie he could easily wander from a playground if he saw something that interested him passing by - a policeman, a fire engine, an interesting bird - no matter how often he was told that it was dangerous - he would completely forget about that. This is your 'mildly' 'mentally handicapped' child.

I will not engage with you in a discussion about your children when you abuse definitions. Your son clearly has a multiplicity of issues that range far beyond MLD, including verbal dyspraxia and autism - neither of which are indicators of MLD. But you already know that.


Quote :
There is SFA in the reactions today that are about 'nuances' our 'soundbites' where parents are concerned. Again, this is a vile and unspeakable cut in services against some of the most needy and dependent of Irish children. I've resolved that I will not send my child to school if he is not adequately and safely supported. Without his SNA, it would be abusive to expect a child like him to cope and to function without help. If his resource hours are cut, school will be virtually pointless to him educationally.

You've moved into an entirely different area here. Has your son lost his SNA? Is he going to lose his SNA? It would be a tragedy if he does considering the needs you outline and considering those needs, it seems entirely unlikely that he will. In any case what does that have to do with the article that you posted?

Quote :
Opposition politicians be damned - you are right about them, they are a bunch of hypocrites about this and have sold out on SEN children whenever they were required to give hard comittments to back up their 'outrage'. But today's announcement is another point altogether. These children that you so easily dismiss are not just deserving of the little they have, there is a desperate need to support them more and better and to put an end to the outrageous policy of suppressing identification of their true numbers.

Be very careful, Aragon. I'm not dismissing the children; I'm dismissing the hysterical, harpish response to fragments of information and your deliberate misinterpretation of the situation. If you are as well informed and experienced as you claim to be, your handling of the information on this thread can only indicate that you are intentionally making political hay out of this.

No Kate. YOU be careful, because from where I'm sitting you are in well over your head. If the things you were saying were not so dangerous, unture and unfair to the interests of vulnerable children, I wouldn't bother with what you say at all. And, yes, I am as well informed as I claim to be - though I heartily wish it were not so. I have been at the coalface of this issue for 30 years, worked with professionals, studied the issues and conditions formally and independently, led a national campaign on behalf of 144 disability groups aournd Ireland - with the backing of Inclusion Ireland, Amnesty International and a number of supportive politcians. It is a problem many parents have in caring for their children that they frequently find themselves confronted by teachers and other professionals who have only a tiny fraction of the knowledge the parents have themselves, and yet their children are at the mercy so often of mere whim and prejudice becuase, before the interests of the child, the professional vanity of the teacher must never be dented. I have been a founder member of two support groups for parents and children and as a matter of bruising, exhausting necessity am very close to the legislation, the administration and funding of provision for SENs. Unless or until you have been through the ringer of trying to secure even the most meagre of supports for these children yourself, you have NO idea what you are talking about. There is NO misrepresentation in what I am saying or have said. This government has shown itself again and again, to be virulently opposed to securing appropriate rights and standards of living for people with disability,especiallly those with intellectual difficulties. The reason is as vulgar as it is vile: our children are considered to be the least productive in society - they are not seen as economically useful and therefore the least worthy of 'investment' - the money follows those who are the most productive. I suggest you learn some humility in the face of the facts and of the reality of people's lives. I have no time for this sort of tinklin, drawing room style diplomacy. If you want to believe that people are being nicer than they are, I for one would be grateful if you would keep it to yourself, because you are interfering in something you clearly do not understand. While you may not intend it, the upshot is that you are being unbelievably offensive.

There is no measured middle ground here: special needs children are being unceremoniously abandoned no matter how much you go out of your way to try to pretend it isn't so. You'll have to forgive those of us who cannot sit around as if we were having tea and cucumber sandwiches, pinkies aloft, so you get to go on believing that these politicians are 'nice' people like yourself. You have no idea how ill-informed and provokingyour comments are, trust me. You are NOT helping anyone.
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PostSubject: Re: Unspeakable, vile attack on children with special educational needs   Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:37 pm

As to facts you do not understand Kate, for educational supports, children must be assessed via their schools under the terms of the Education of Persons with Special Needs Act 2004. Schools were subsequently restricted to between 2-4 assessments per shcool per year no matter how many children may need them. The vast majority of children are only first suspected of having learning difficulties once they get too school, when their problems become much more apparent for obvious reasons. Headteachers are in the awful position of having to choose.

I am not lying about what my son's diagnoses. Despite all of his difficulties, he has been assessed, overall, as being in the range of mild learning difficulties. Incredible isn't it? We are all painfully aware that the standard is unevenly applied. The lottery like nature of the provision is just one aspect of the situation we have to face.

John Carr of the INTO knows a thing or two about this and here is a brief press release from him today:

Statement by John Carr, INTO General Secretary, on the Closure of Special Classes in Primary Schools
11th February 2009

Quote :
Closure of special classes completely unacceptable – INTO

The INTO has strongly criticised the decision of the Department of Education and Science to close 128 special classes in primary schools without warning. The classes are for children with mild learning difficulties and are located in local national schools throughout the country.

These classes provide special education support for children in mainstream primary schools. Generally the children in these classes had been unable to fully benefit from the curriculum in regular mainstream classes. The special classes are part of the range of options available to special needs children from special schools to full inclusion in mainstream primary classes.

John Carr, General Secretary of the INTO, said the decision was indefensible and cannot be seen as anything other than an attack on special needs provision in the country. “On a day when eight billion is being provided to bail out banks the Education Department is axing seven million in funding to special needs children. The Minister should be called upon to answer for this decision in the Dail.”

“The decision was made purely on financial grounds,” said Carr. “The National Council for Special Education has commissioned a report on special classes. Yet before this is published the whole infrastructure is being pulled down. It is certainly not being made on educational grounds.”

He called for the decision to be reversed immediately pending the publication of the report and full discussions with all concerned.


In other words these children will be dumped in class rooms where they will be unable to cope and will be massively educationally disadvantaged. See earlier post.


Last edited by Aragon on Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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