Shame on the Government to Use the Credit Crunch to Cut Funds for Special Needs Children; EXCLUSIVE Fair City Star Keith Backing Campaign to Save Crucial Services SAVE OUR SPECIAL KIDS IRISH DAILY Mirror
Byline: BY MAEVE QUIGLEY
FAIR City star Keith Duffy yesterday backed The Mirror's Campaign to stop funding cuts for special needs kids.
The Boyzone singer has campaigned long and hard to get more funding from the Government for kids with autism - a condition which his own daughter Mia suffers from.
And yesterday Keith slammed the Government for using the recession as an excuse to take much-needed services away from special needs kids.
He said: "We have to continue to fight and make a noise about this.
"Children who have special needs, children with disabilities do not understand what a recession is.
"These children don't know what a credit crunch is.
"They still need to be educated and have these services provided for them in the form of one-on-one teaching, occupational therapy, speech therapy or whatever it is they need to go forward.
"That is their right and it needs to be addressed.
"And we need to keep going forward with them - not take away things that are helped them."
Keith said there were other areas where the Government could make cuts rather than turning on the most vulnerable people in society.
He said: "I know the recession is affecting everyone and certain bits and pieces I have interest in myself have been affected.
"But speaking from a personal perspective I know for a fact that the funding the Government provides for autistic kids here is not enough to begin with.
"Too often families whose children have special needs must rely on charities and fundraising to get their children what they need.
"What is provided by the Government for children who need special attention in the first place is a disgrace.
"There are only 13 schools in the country providing Applied Behavioural Analysis teaching which is the system kids with autism really need.
"Those schools have been set up by the parents of kids with autism not by the state in the first place.
"They run to a financial deficit at the end of each year and that money has to be found through fundraising which is what I spend most of my time doing. And if the little bit that they give us is going to get cut, that will put us six steps back."
Keith says he knows full well the trauma parents who face having vital services taken away from their children by the cutbacks are feeling right now.
He said: "It is a nightmare for them - as I parent I fully understand this.
"I have been pulling my hair out many times over funding issues but it doesn't seem to do any good.
"I have to stay positive and keep going for the hundreds of parents out there who already don't have the services available to them that they need and try to help them. Everyone in the country who has a child with autism wants a placement in one of our schools as they know these provide the best education these kids need. …