Dáil Éireann - Volume 615 - 21 February, 2006

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

  622. Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science if funding will be provided for the appointment of a disability officer in the colleges of technologies; and the position in the colleges with regard to ensuring that people with disabilities are properly catered for. [6895/06]

  Ms Hanafin: At present, there is a range of support services for students with a disability in the institute of technology sector. These include learning support, including needs assessment and support for students with learning difficulties, assistive technology services and the provision of additional support staff such as sign-language interpreters or note takers. Students who have difficulty with public transport also receive special assistance.

The supports and services are resourced through the annual allocation of funding for the institutes and by a further €2.4 million allocated through the fund for students with disabilities which assists students with a disability with their studies across all institutes of technology. The institutes are conscious of the need to continuously improve their services to students with a disability and this work is ongoing. The institutes and my Department share the view that services should be based on assessment of needs and that a designated disability officer is not necessarily required in all colleges.