AN 11-year-old Limerick city schoolboy has to wait for long periods every time he needs to go the toilet until one of his parents or his brother arrives to assist him.
Darragh Hogan - a fifth class pupil at St Munchins CBS, Shelbourne Road - is confined to a wheelchair as he suffers from hypermobile joints, pain, scoliosis, dyspraxia and ADHD.Recently, he was also diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
However, despite an emergency application from his school for extra Special Needs support, Darragh has only been granted “shared access” to an SNA who also looks after four other pupils in the school.
Darragh’s 12-year-old brother Luke, who is in sixth class at St Munchins CBS, is regularly asked to help his brother when he needs to go to the toilet.
And Darragh’s mother, Aisling, says she is also frequently called to the school to provide assistance to her son. As recently as this Monday, Aisling was called to the school on two separate occasions.
“The system has to be looked at, these kids have to be catered for. They (The Department of Education) want these kids to go into mainstream school but yet they don’t want to facilitate them with what they are entitled to,” said Aisling who lives with her husband Darren and four children in Caherdavin.
Darragh, who hopes to become a writer when he grows up, says it can be embarrassing and he says having to wait to go to the toilet is painful.
“It is difficult and the fact that I have to hold it in for a long period, and my bladder isn’t the best means it is painful,” said Darragh who is hoping to attend St Nessan’s Community College when he finishes at St Munchins CBS next year.
A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Chronicle, print edition, dated March 13, 2012