June 6, 2023

Kilkenny TD says parents of children with special needs are ‘anxious’ about returning to school

A Kilkenny TD is calling for clarification on how children with special needs can return to school over the coming weeks.

Sinn Féin’s TD for Kilkenny, Deputy Kathleen Funchion says many parents of children with special needs are anxious about leaving them return to school, believing their kids could struggle with the changes in schools brought about by Covid-19 guidelines.

Deputy Funchion says: “No child can be left behind as schools re-open.

“Despite the fact that the new school term has begun and many schools have reopened in recent days, a number of key issues remain unanswered about how children with special educational needs can return to school safely.

“I have spoken with many families who are distraught about the ongoing lack of clarity about how children with special needs can return to school. They desperately want to do the right thing for their children and ensure they receive the education they are entitled to, yet without proper guidance they are anxious and unclear about what to do,” Deputy Funchion said.

“Many pupils with special educational needs are still unclear about whether, or how, their Special Needs Assistant can continue to support them. Parents of children with autism, in particular, have warned that their children are distressed by teachers wearing masks and they are struggling to read social cues with teachers’ facial expressions covered.

“We cannot have children with additional needs or underlying medical issues left behind or locked out of education as schools return. I am deeply concerned that this will happen if parents’ concerns are not addressed and if additional resources are not provided,” Deputy Funchion concluded.


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