It is the policy of the Department that all children with Special Educational Needs can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in recognised school settings through the primary and post primary school network.
Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.
Decisions about placement should be based on individual needs and take into account a number of factors including parental wishes, availability of evidence-based treatments and well-trained staff and individual factors such as targets for intervention and management of behaviours.
Some students, although academically able to access the curriculum in mainstream, may find it too difficult to manage full-time placement there. This can be due to significant difficulties in areas such as behaviour or sensory needs which have not been ameliorated, even with appropriate intervention, in mainstream.
Others may have such complex needs that they are best placed in a special school.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs in conjunction with schools and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The local SENOs are available to advise parents in relation to supports which may be available to support children with special educational needs. The local SENO contact details are available on www.ncse.ie.
Where students with Special Educational Needs experience difficulties, the first course of action is engagement with first level services provided by the Department of Education and Skills (National Educational Psychological Service, Special Education Support Service, National Behavioural Support Service, National Council for Special Education) and Health Services Executive (HSE)/ HSE funded services.
If a parent of a student feels that a student is currently experiencing continuing difficulties they should request through their school a multi-disciplinary school based review involving NEPS, the local SENO and other relevant professionals.
As the matter raised by the Deputy refers to a particular child, I have arranged for the Deputy's question to be forwarded to the National Council for Special Education for their attention and direct reply.