Fine Gael Meath West TD, Ray Butler, has today (Tuesday) said he is relieved to have received confirmation from the Health Service Executive (HSE) that the preschool assistance subsidy, which supports children with disabilities, is being protected.
“I made representations to the HSE about this matter on behalf of Down Syndrome Louth/Meath, as I knew a number of parents were concerned that the subsidy would be discontinued.
“The scheme supports children with a disability who are in pre-school. It essentially allows the preschool to hire a special needs assistant for the child to help with a variety of needs including communication, going to the toilet and eating.
“These assistants make a huge difference to the children involved. Currently 58 children aged between 1 and 6 avail of the scheme through Down Syndrome Louth/Meath. Without this scheme I know many of these children would not be able to attend preschool.
“I understand that a review is being carried out of the scheme, and this was causing some serious concern among parents. I am very pleased to have received confirmation from the HSE’s Area Manager in Louth/Meath that funding has been approved in full for the scheme for the academic year 2014-2015.
“I feel very strongly about the need to support children with disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, and to do all we can to ensure they can participate in and benefit from education. I am pleased and relieved that the preschool assistance subsidy is being protected for the year ahead, and I hope this will put parents’ minds at ease.”