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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 13 December, 2019

11-year-old student driven home to use the bathroom due to lack of SNAs

The primary school student at St Munchin’s CBS in Limerick, who is in a wheelchair, has had to have his mother attend the school to help bring him to the bathroom during the school day.

Image: my_southborough via Flickr/Creative Commons

AN 11-YEAR-OLD BOY with special needs had to be driven home by the school staff to use a toilet when there weren’t enough special needs assistants in his school to bring him to the bathroom.

The mother of the 5th class student at St Munchin’s CBS in Limerick has also been called to the school to assist in bringing the boy to the bathroom during the school day.

The 11-year-old, who is in a wheelchair, has dyspraxia, ADHD, scoliosis, hypermobile joints, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. He has access to a special needs assistant (SNA) who currently also looks after four other pupils in the school.

The Special Needs Parents Association said that no 11-year-old should have to deal with the situation the student is currently facing.

“[He] is well aware of his disabilities and the constraints of the environment around him which further compound the personal challenges he already has to face, and no 11-year-old should have to deal with that which can be avoided with proper resources,” said spokesperson Lorraine Dempsey.

The mother of 11-year-old Darragh Hogan has to “put her life on hold expecting her phone to ring at any point during the school day,” the Association said. On one occasion, two staff members of the school drove the primary school student home to go to the bathroom.

The problem is compounded by the inaccessibility of the toilets in the school for a wheelchair, the Association said.

The government capped the number of SNAs at 10,575 in July last year, angering many parents, children and teachers who protested that the current SNA allocations are too low.

Government to unveil €1.5 billion school-building programme >’s progress report for the Government: Education >

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