Including Children With Special Needs

Special needs education refers to the special educational arrangements which are in place for children with special needs. These special educational provisions are provided to any child if their ability to participate in and benefit from education is restricted due to an ongoing physical, intellectual, sensory, and eA Brief History of Special Needs Provision in IrelandThe Irish Department of Education was established in 1924. For much of its history, the department considered that the education of children with special needs alongside their non-disabled peers was not appropriate as their needs were considered medical and not educational. In the 1980’s there was a worldwide push for integration of disabled children into mainstream schools. Soon after classes for children with special needs began to be established and more teachers were educated to cater to this demand.

By 1993 over 2 thousand children were being educated in such classesIn 1993, the report of the Special Education Review Committee (SERC) made the following recommendations• Establishment of a continuum of educational provisions to meet special education needs, that would allow• Full- Time placement in a mainstream class with additional support• Part-Time or Full-time Placement in a special class or school• Full-time placement in a residential special school• Part-Time placement in a Child Education and Development Centre(CEDC) or special schoolIn 1995, a government white paper on education called “Charting our Education Future” Stated the following, “all students regardless of their personal circumstances have a right of access to and participation in the education system according to their potential and ability” and “to promote quality and equality for all, including those who are disadvantaged through economic, social physical and mental factors in the development of their full educational potential”.

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Several acts of parliament resulted in legislation which further added to the rights of special needs children in Ireland, including The Equal Status Act 2000, The Children’s Act 2001, The Equality Act 2004 and The Disability Act 2005.The EPSEN Act 2004 is the legislation which provides for the provision of education plans for students with special educational needs (SEN). Under the Act, children with SEN will be educated “in an inclusive environment with children who do not have SEN”, unless this should be inconsistent either with the best interest of the child or with the effective provision for the other children.This provides the statutory requirements for educational planning as they impact upon students, parents, schools, and the National Council for Special Education (the Council)Under the EPSEN Act 2004, all children with SEN should be provided with an IEP, and this individualized program should be delivered in an ‘inclusive environment’ with students who do not have SEN whenever possible.The EPSEN Act takes us up to the present day and ensures that the needs of special needs children are comprehensively provided for in the educational environment.emotional or learning disability.

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