Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Pat Carey

Question:

863 Mr. P. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received an application for financial support from the dyslexic support centres; if he will give support to these centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2350/99]

John McGuinness

Question:

865 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science the amount of funding being made available within his Department's Estimates to cope with dyslexia; and the plans, if any, he has to assist those affected. [28301/98]

Michael Ring

Question:

896 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the full extent and scope of remedial teaching available to dyslexic children in County Mayo. [1011/99]

Michael Ring

Question:

897 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science if there are any established dyslexic support centres in County Mayo. [1012/99]

Michael Ring

Question:

898 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans, if any, he has to establish and provide funding for a dyslexic support centre in the mid-western region. [1013/99]

Michael Ring

Question:

899 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the funding made available nation wide for the remedial teaching of dyslexic children. [1014/99]

Michael Ring

Question:

900 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the funding, if any, made available in County Mayo for the remedial teaching of dyslexic children. [1015/99]

Richard Bruton

Question:

902 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the proposal for a full-time centre for dyslexic children in the mid-west region; and the financial support, if any, available to fund this proposal. [1017/99]

Dick Spring

Question:

933 Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to research which shows that at least one in every ten of the population is dyslexic; and the plans, if any, he has to provide financial support to the dyslexic support centres or to provide a comprehensive programme in schools to assist pupils who are classified as dyslexic and who do not receive the requisite education at present. [1325/99]

Enda Kenny

Question:

989 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received representations from the dyslexic support centre based at Barrington's, George's Quay, Limerick; if he has examined the proposals for extra financial support submitted by the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1717/99]

Proinsias De Rossa

Question:

991 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will support proposals from the dyslexic support centre, George's Quay, Limerick, for the establishment of a full-time centre for dyslexic children in the mid-west region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1720/99]

Seán Ryan

Question:

1000 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will report on the need for special teachers for post-primary schools to cater for students with dyslexia; if he will make a payment to parents in view of the fact that parents currently have to pay for additional teaching for these children which can cost up to £500 per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1815/99]

Deirdre Clune

Question:

1021 Ms Clune asked the Minister for Education and Science the financial assistance he has given to dyslexic support centres in 1998; the financial assistance he proposes to give in 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2124/99]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1023 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of dyslexic children; the educational provision for these children; and the proposals, if any, he has to expand and improve these services. [2209/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 863, 865, 896 to 900 inclusive, 902, 933, 989, 991, 1000, 1021 and 1023.

The educational needs of pupils with specific learning disability, including dyslexia, are generally capable of being met within the ordinary school system, with the assistance, where appropriate, of the remedial teacher service.

Fully qualified primary school teachers are trained to deal with a variety of reading problems, including those which are accompanied by perceptual difficulties. In addition the special training programme for remedial teachers includes a module on specific learning disability. There are at present a total of 1,302 remedial teachers serving 2,487 primary schools; 37 of these posts serve 116 primary schools in County Mayo. I recently announced my decision to extend the remedial teacher service to all first and second level schools with effect from September 1999.

Second level pupils with specific learning disability are normally integrated into ordinary classes where they may receive additional support through the remedial teacher, guidance counsellor and subject teachers. Such pupils may also be eligible for special arrangements in the certificate examinations.

Where more serious cases of difficulty arise, provision is made in one of four special schools and seven special classes dedicated to such children. These special facilities operate at a reduced pupil teacher ratio of 11:1.

I am not aware of any dyslexic support centres in County Mayo. However, I understand that my Department does not currently have any application for the establishment of a special class to cater for such children in the Mayo area. Any such application would receive positive consideration in my Department.

My Department has received representations for funding support from the dyslexic support centre in Limerick. In 1998, my Department allocated a once-off grant of £14,000 to this centre. In 1998 my Department also allocated grant assistance of £38,000 to the Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities, ACLD, to assist in their administration service and to facilitate access to workshops and summer schools for children from disadvantaged areas. However, it is not my intention that my Department should become involved in the ongoing funding of such centres which are developed on a private basis. To the extent that resources become available, the priority focus will be on supporting the development of in-school services for such children.

I am aware of the claim of an incidence of 10 per cent to which Deputy Spring refers. This figure is one of the variety of claims which have been made regarding the incidence of the condition in question. The special education review committee, which examined provision in this area, indicated that estimates of the incidence of specific learning disability are usually within the range 1.4 per cent, depending on the definition adopted.
I am confident that my decision to extend the remedial teacher service to all schools with effect from September 1999 will lead to a significant improvement in the level of in-school support available to the children in question right across the country.