Written Answers. - Special Education Places.

Máirín Quill

Question:

199 Miss Quill asked the Minister for Education if extra places will be made available in education establishments for children with a severe or profound mental handicap; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2055/96]

Any applications for additional special classes to cater for the needs of children with a severe or profound mental handicap sent to my Department will be fully considered. The Deputy will be aware that these children have very complex needs in addition to their educational needs and the success of these special classes is determined, not only by the quality and duration of teaching input, but also by the availability of other professional personnel, such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

The provision of additional places requires careful planning and interagency co-operation. However, I assure the Deputy that, where possible, additional classes will be established and my Department will make every effort to ensure the educational needs of these children are met.