Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Politicians need to stop abusing language (and children)

February 11th, 2009 · 8 Comments · Disability, Irish Politics, Recession

Batt O’Keefe, Minister for Education, has told primary schools that resource teachers for children with learning disabilities are to be withdrawn if they have less than 9 children in the school – it’s a particularly nasty cut especially as getting assessed for a learning disability and required supports is so difficult so the excuse of the department that there is a drop in numbers of students is a load of rubbish.

But it was not the cut that caught my eye but the bandwagon jumping that opposition TD’s got on in reaction to it.

Brian Hayes TD  Fine Gael’s Education spokesperson issued a statement – 
‘Attack on Special Needs Children Unforgivable – Hayes’

Kathleen Lynch TD, the Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues and Equality also issued a statement – ‘ Services for Special Needs children need protection’.

Not to be outdone, Senator Pearse Doherty from Sinn Fein trotted out special needs too – ‘Special needs teacher cutbacks unjustifiable’.

Despite the TD’s and Senators best efforts to rebirth the term, I think they need to be reminded that Special Needs went out with the ark with regards to educational issues and children with disabilities. These teachers have been known as resource teachers for years.

It’s a shame that we need to remind politicians that the term Special Needs joined ‘remedial, educationally subnormal, slow class, stupid, impaired and slow learner’ in the dustbin.  But the way things are going I expect them to be trotted out in the debates to follow!

For many of us it’s the education system that is impaired and not the students within but the TD’s need to catch attention and whats more likely to do that then shout out the terms most offensive to paint their particular picture!

The children affected are children with learning disabilities or specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. There is enough stigma about having to leave your class for extra support without politicians labeling children as special needs or vulnerable.

By the way The Irish Times breaking news section is not innocent in this crime against language and children either.

PS. I’m on the look out for the first politician to use invalid and handicapped in this recession. If you’ve spotted them please let me know.

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