DSI welcomes Government’s pilot project to bring specialised therapists into schools and pre-schools

Down Syndrome Ireland welcomes the Government initiative to provide speech and language and occupational therapy support to children in 75 schools and 75 pre-school settings for the 2018/2019 school year.

Some 19 speech and language therapists and 12 occupational therapists will be recruited as part of the pilot programme, which is a joint initiative between the Departments of Education, Children and Youth Affairs, Health and the Health Service Executive.

Phase 1 of the project will take place in the HSE region that covers west Dublin, Kildare and west Wicklow, involving schools in urban and rural locations and a mix of school types.

The pilot scheme will test how early intervention and specialised therapeutic supports can be integrated within educational settings. The Government says the pilot will complement existing HSE funded provision of therapy services within each of the nine Community Healthcare Organisations.

You can see full details HERE.

We really welcome the initiative as we have long been campaigning for Speech and Language Therapy support in schools for students who have Down syndrome.

As you know, speech and language disorders are a highly significant part of the learning profile of children who have Down syndrome impacting on both learning and social inclusion. Providing therapy support in education settings could potentially reduce the time that children are withdrawn from school for therapy sessions while increasing teacher understanding of the complexity of the language disorder and the need to take this into account to facilitate access to the curriculum.

Research and our experience highlights that Speech and Language Therapy support makes a significant difference to the ability of children with Down syndrome to optimise their potential.

Our strong view remains that Speech and Language Therapy support should be made available in all education settings though the pilot is a certainly step in the right direction.

Latest News

Changes to SET hours – DSI, AsIAm and Inclusion Ireland call for pause

22 Feb 2024

Down Syndrome Ireland expresses concern on proposed changes to SET hours

09 Feb 2024

Report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters

06 Apr 2023