Claire Sugden MLA has welcomed the recommendations in a report on post Special Education Needs provision for those with learning disabilities.
MLA Sugden said: “I welcome the report on post Special Education Needs provision for those with learning disabilities.
This follows an inquiry by the committee for Employment and Learning which I sit on.
Young people with learning disabilities face barriers to education, employment and training once they progress past Special Education Needs provision. They often find themselves at a cliff edge when making decisions about their future, and too many are slipping through the net. This is devastating for families.
I sit on the Board of Compass Advocacy Network, an incredible organisation which advocates for those with learning disabilities. I value the input from a member of their organisation who helps me in my office every week. Her future is a big concern. I have also spoken to older parents who worry about who will look after their son or daughter in future. Right now there are limited options for next steps.
I welcome the report recommendations calling for greater Government collaboration and improved access to services. I hope the Government will consider increasing the Statement of Educational Need to 25 years of age. This would allow a longer transition period and more time to develop the skills needed to progress into further education or employment.
These are issues which must be addressed so that people with learning disabilities can fully participate in public life. I urge the Executive to include people with learning disabilities in the new Programme for Government. Their future matters.”