Dáil Éireann - Volume 520 - 08 June, 2000
Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
179. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will recognise the statements of need compiled by the National Association for Deaf People in respect of deaf people progressing to third level, and ensure that the resources specified in this statement will be identified before the start of the proposed course of study. [16242/00]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Hearing impaired students attending courses in third level colleges-institutions and post leaving certificate centres may apply for assistance from the special fund for students with disabilities, which is administered by my Department. The aims of the fund are to provide funding to students with disabilities attending courses in third level institutions and, since 1998, in post leaving certificate centres. The purpose of the special fund is to provide students with serious physical and-or sensory disabilities with grant assistance towards the cost of special equipment, special materials and technological aids, targeted transport services, personal assistants and sign language interpreters.
The level of funding allocated to the special fund has increased substantially each year from £80,000 in 1994 to £700,000 in 1999. Funding was allocated to a total of 314 applicants in 1999, including £208,500 allocated to 61 students with hearing impairments. In assessing these applications, account was taken of statements of need – identifying assistive technology needs – were submitted. A similar procedure will apply in respect of the 2000-01 academic year. Once applications for assistance under the special fund are  received by my Department at the beginning of the 2000-01 academic year, they will be dealt with expeditiously and awards will be made at the earliest possible date.
Dáil Éireann 520 Written Answers. Special Educational Needs.