‘My nine-year-old boy is being denied an education’

by Mark O'Brien

A Blanchardstown mother whose son suffers from behavioural difficulties says that he is being denied the right to an education.

Doreen Devine’s nine-year-old son Sean has recently been diagnosed with Teenage Conduct Disorder.

The disorder is a serious behavioural and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teenagers.

Children who suffer from this disorder often display disruptive behaviour and have problems following rules.

Because of his condition, Sean has been unable to attend a mainstream school and Doreen told The Gazette that special needs schools have also failed him.

“He has no education,” she said.

“He’s nine years of age and he doesn’t know how to spell.

“I don’t think it’s fair on him.

“I’ve never seen a child treated like this.”

Due to his condition, Sean has already missed a whole year of school.

He previously attended Phoenix Park Special School and now attends Casa Caitriona in Cabra.

However, due to his behavioural issues Sean has never completed a full week in school and currently only attends Casa Caitriona two days a week.

Doreen said that she feels let down by the system and that a special needs school should be able to offer her son a full education.

“He has difficulties but they should be able to manage this because it’s a special needs school and that’s what it stands for,” she said.

“I’ve had no help at all with Sean.”

Doreen has requested previously meetings with the principal of Casa Caitriona in an attempt to resolve the issue but now the principal won’t come to meetings with her.

“The principal won’t even come to a meeting,” she said.

“She won’t speak to me, it’s always the teacher.”

Casa Caitriona declined to comment when contacted by The Gazette.

Doreen said that in spite of his difficulties Sean is a loveable child who deserves an education.

“He’s really hearty and he’s really loveable,” she said.

She added that she is desperate to have the issue resolved and give Sean the education that he deserves.

“I need to get to the bottom of this,” she said.

“I need to get my child back in school.”

The Gazette contacted the Department of Education in relation to Sean’s case.

The Department said that they could not comment on individual cases but said: “The policy of this Department is that children with special educational needs should be included, where possible and appropriate, in mainstream school placements with additional supports provided.

“In circumstances where children with special educational needs require more specialised interventions, special school or special class places are also available.”

The statement added: “Parents/guardians who may need advice or are experiencing difficulties regarding an appropriate school placement should contact their local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) who can assist in identifying an appropriate educational placement for their child.

“Contact details are available on www.ncse.ie.”

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