February 2009

While this blog tries to focus specifically on issues relating to disability & employment I don’t apply that rigidly – very few things are so clearcut and in this instance, education is an integral part of any conversation about employment.

Below is a letter from our director, written to the Irish Times on the budget cuts proposed by Minister Batt O’Keefe which will effect children with mild general learning difficulties (MGLD) It speaks for itself.

“Minister O’Keefe is right to mainstream education, but for the wrong reasons

Placing children with MGLD is “special” classes is not mainstream  education, it is still segregated education even though it is located in a mainstream school.  In fact the “special” class only highlights the difference of the child and label of disability attached making the child quite isolated amongst the other children.  A really inclusive school is one which includes all children including those with MGLD and other disabilities in the mianstream classroom.

Inclusive education is education which welcomes every child and acknowledges the right of every child to be included by saying that every child has the right to be in a mainstream classroom with other children his/her age and it includes them in all school activities.  An inclusive school changes and restructures how it does things to ensure that every child can learn and reach their potential, it changes its classrooms, the curriculum it buildings, images to  ensure that the child’s educational needs are met.

Mainstream education benefits children with MGLD in particular as they will learn from the interaction with other children, the cut and thrust of slagging, of joking of having fun with children their own age.

This however is not what the Minister had in mind as Inclusive education needs the additional resource teachers in the classroom.  It will definitely not save money.  It would require a full complement of resource teachers and special needs assistants to be incorporated into the classroom and to work as a team with other teachers to support the learning activities going on in the classroom.

So we ask the Minister to move to move the children into the mainstream classroom, but to bring the resource teachers with them.

Ann Heelan

Executive Director


Thanks to the good folks in Ouch, I discovered this – a blog dedicated to accessible blogging. I know I have much work to do on this – but hopefully I’ll be moving this blog in the near future which will rectify those problems. Still plenty to learn from this very straightforward blog – well worth a read, especially if you’re a blogger!

The NDA (National Disability Authority) is currently writing its strategic plan for 2010-1012. They are looking for your views on what should be their areas of work for the next three years. You can read more about it here and download the submission forms etc.

We’re putting our submission together at the moment – if you have anything in particular you’d like me to put in, rather than submitting on your own, please do let me know.

The NDA is the organisation the government derives most of its policy and views from – it describes itself as “an independent body set up by law to advised the Government on disability matters”. So what it says matters in terms of policy change and government. This is a chance to influence that in some way, so if you have a few minutes please complete the form and send it in by the 2nd March
UPDATED: here’s our submission – short, but then the process was a little limiting in my opinion


(link is http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-02-02/) I can’t quite embed it right – not so techy sometimes!

brilliant 🙂

the dialogue of the cartoon above reads:

Job Interview

“Interviewer: Would you take a bullet for the team?

Dilbert: Um…Sure.

Interviewer: Good. The team is already at the firing range waiting for you.

Dilbert: (thinking while dodging bullets) Stupid weak economy.