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One in four children have special educational needs - study

Teachers and parents believe up to 25 per cent of nine-year-olds have a special learning need, new research has shown.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Photocall Ireland

UP TO 25 per cent of nine-year-olds have been identified by their teachers or parents as having a special educational or learning need, a new study has found.

However, not all of these students will need additional resources, say the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

The ESRI study, conducted on behalf of the NCSE, also showed that both teachers and parents are more aware of special needs and are likely to identify them at an earlier stage.

Data from the 8,578 nine-year-olds taking part in the Growing Up in Ireland study was used to estimate the prevalence of special educational needs in Ireland.
The definition of special needs included a broad range of difficulties such as physical, learning and emotional-behavioural issues in primary-school children.

The figure of 25 per cent is in line with findings in the Netherlands and the UK, the report says.
While this 25 per cent is an increase on previous estimates, we are very pleased that our research shows [a] growing level of awareness because early identification leads to early intervention” says Teresa Griffin, CEO of the NCSE.

While we are now identifying more children who learn differently or need an alternative approach to learning, not all will need additional resources. The data referenced in the report clearly shows that additional teaching resources are in place in schools for children with special educational needs. This NCSE research will influence the way that we educate teachers.”

The group launched its Inclusive Education Framework today to help schools plan, measure and improve how they support pupils with special educational needs.

Griffin said the framework will help reaffirm good practices already in place in many schools.

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