Dáil Éireann - Volume 413 - 03 December, 1991

Written Answers. - Education for the Mentally Handicapped.

83. Tomás Mac Giolla asked the Minister for Education if he will examine in conjunction with the Minister for Health the question of education for children who are severely or profoundly mentally handicapped in order to ensure that special teaching facilities and free transport are available to them in the same way as for mildly or moderately mentally handicapped children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. Davern): Arising from the recommendations of the 1983 report “The Education and Training of Severely and Profoundly Mentally Handicapped Children in Ireland”, 16 teaching posts dedicated to severely and profoundly mentally handicapped children were established on a pilot basis.

The children in question are catered for either in special classes attached to schools for moderate mental handicap or in special care units serviced by a specially allocated teacher. At present there are seven such special classes and nine care units involved. The pupil-teacher ratio in such cases is 12:1.

Where transport is required for such children, they are facilitated either under the special school transport system or, if necessary, through the provision of grant assistance to enable parents to make private transport arrangements.

The Department are currently reviewing the provision for severe-profound mentally handicapped nationally with a view to considering whether further action is necessary.