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Educational Rights for neurodiverse children- Are they being met?

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Here at Super Calm Sensory Products our aim is to educate parents, carers, teachers and children on neurodiversity and the impact it can have on the person caring for the child with a neurodiverse difference. We aim to increase understanding on what is happening in the body of a neurologically different person resulting in greater empathy in understanding certain behaviours. By developing sensory diets and activities aimed towards their specific sensory needs the child should reach optimum levels of arousal to allow them to be present during school and home life.

Someone who has neurologically diverse differences may react differently to others around sensory stimuli and other environmental factors. The overall goal is to promote understanding and increase empathy resulting in a more harmonious environment for all.


Every child in Ireland has a constitutional right to a free primary education. Children with additional needs are entitled to this education until they are eighteen yeard old. There are a number of acts provided by the Irish government that outline the rights of children in relation to education, in particular neurologically diverse children.

EPSEN Act 2004: This act entitles a neurologically diverse child to an inclusive environment in which they are integrated into the school environment. It also outlines plans to coordinate and plan services needed for said children in schools. Schools will be assessed and reviewed to ensure the rights of neurologically diverse and disabled children are being met and act accordingly if they are not. For many children these rights are not being met to a certain degree. Although they may be allowed movement breaks etc., they have not got the necessary sensory rooms and inputs needed to self-soothe and learn to integrate with the mainstream classes. They are not entirely included in the day-to-day activities of schooling due to unmanaged sensory or processing difficulties. To read more about the EPSEN Act 2004 and what it means for your child click below.

Disability Act 2005: This act discusses equality and social inclusion for children with learning difficulties, disabilities and special needs. It outlines the right for children to receive a service statement which defines the services that the child needs through the school and what the parents should expect the child to be doing. This act states that if needs are not being met you are entitled to have your case readdressed and new services provided. To find out more about the Disability Act 2005, click the link below.

Equal Status Act 2000: This act entitles students with disabilities to be accommodated. To read more about the Equal Status Act 2000, click below.

CRPD Article 24: The UN convention outlined the rights for people with disabilities in the CRPD. Within this is article 24 which states that educational environments should be inclusive for all. Children should not be excluded from mainstream classes due to their additional needs. According to this article Ireland is currently excluding over 16,000 children nationwide. Children of all neurological diversities should be included in school activities and mainstream class activities. To read more about the UN's policy click the link below.


EU Trends and Laws.

The EU is experiencing a large trend in increasing number of special education units in mainstream schools. There is a decrease in Special educational needs (SEN) schools. This may be due to the UN's new policies on inclusion of children with additional needs into mainstream schools rather than segregating into separate school systems.

The EU is having difficulties with separate countries labelling of SEN's, some countries solely identify SEN as those with physical disabilities whereas others include a wide array of both physical and cognitive disabilities. This is something that has to be regulated so schools can adhere to policy.



Research has proven that neurologically diverse children have better long-term outcomes when they are included in a mainstream educational setting versus special educational units. Schools in New Brunswick in Canada implemented this policy as they felt if children learn together then they will learn to live and work together. They believed that educators should create the future they wish to be in, and their future involved total inclusion.

The Principal of the school has discussed the drive for this educational model, he stated it was a value driven human rights based decision. He felt that the rights of the children and the quality of their future outweighed the economic costs of implementing an inclusion model. The success of this story can be read by following the link below.

Do other countries value cost over human rights/inclusion?


Why the end of your corridor is not a sensory space.

Although many schools think that having an area in a corridor or a corner of a sports hall is sufficient for a sensory space, unfortunately, it isn't. It is a start for some schools in a transition to a more inclusive culture and mindfulness techniques it is not substantial in meeting the needs for those children who truly require a sensory space. These make-shift areas still allow external noise and light in which for some children with sensory processing disorders find extremely uncomfortable and triggering.

This is why a room should be sought to create a safe sensory space for children and teachers alike, one that eliminates all distractions and allows total immersion into the sensory experience.



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