Posts Tagged ‘SNA’

Does this sound familiar to you?

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Our little boy was born with Down Syndrome, which doesn’t bother us at all.  He’s just a little normal dude to us, with a chromosome upgrade. It just makes him even more special to us.  He’s our little super-hero … without the cape.

We do know that being born with a disability may be challenging for him.  As any loving parent, it is therefore our duty to protect and assist him throughout his life, making sure he gets all the same opportunities as any other kid.

Parents of kids with disabilities want, for obvious reasons, their kid to attend mainstream school.  They will develop in confidence and get friends and even be part of a gang.

So, because our little dude turns six this year, it means he can start mainstream school.  This is another proud moment in our life.  Our little dude is off to school.

Our oldest daughter is attending an Educate Together School, which apparently is meant to be excellent and very inclusive, meaning that it doesn’t care about religion or disabilities.  It will treat and educate kids equally … or so we thought.

The application / enrollment form for our son was submitted in January and we had the initial chats with the school about his needs.

It’s pretty obvious that he would need some level of support, called Special Needs Assistant (SNA), to help him during the school day, making sure that he does his duties, math, toilet stuff, lunch, etc.  In order to get an SNA, we needed to submit a few documents about his disability to then get him enrolled.

Keyword here.  He had to be enrolled in a school before the Principal can apply for the SNA.

We submitted the necessary assessment reports and waited for the school to contact us.

The contact happened after a recent visit to the US, where we met the principal and the Chairperson from the Board of Management.  Let me just say, it didn’t go as we expected.

Both the Principal and the Chairperson were reluctant to enroll our son due to his disability, using the excuse that he wouldn’t get an SNA – according to the school.  Please note, the principal can only apply for a SNA after he has been offered a placement!  How did they know he would not get an SNA?

Secondly, they didn’t like or accept the reports from the local health-board (HSE) psychologist which clearly stated that our son should go to a mainstream school.  The Principal didn’t think the assessment reports were completed.   However, if the assessment reports were reformulated, then she would give our son a place in the school.

Based on the Principal’s suggestion, the assessment reports were re-written and the psychologist wrote 3 letters to re-iterate her views and support that he should go to mainstream school – unfortunately the Board and Principal back-tracked on their promise!!

The next few weeks were spent arguing with the school, getting letters from the healthboard and contacting various support organisations.

Finally, we received a letter from the school and hoped it would be good news.  But no, the school denied our son a place in the school, because of his disability.

The school in question is Educate Together in Lucan – and this post was created from the following email we received here at My Special Needs.

Dear myspecialneeds.ie,

Please read and promote our story http://www.judgebrix.com/blog/2011/06/09/wrath/

Our son was not enrolled in school because of his ability, despite the HSE supporting us that he should be put in mainstream school.

The principal and BOM simply refused, and didn’t want to apply for SNA either!

Thanks

Monica & Mikkel