The Post 19 Lobby Group, made up of parents and carers of children and young people with severe learning disabilities from across Northern Ireland, hosted a ‘Question Time’ event at Hill Croft School in New Mossley on Thursday, October 13.
Helen Ferguson from Carers NI chaired the question and answer session on the ‘post 19 transition’ issue, ensuring that the dialogue between the 30 parents and carers in attendance and the panel members - Roy Beggs MLA, Stewart Dickson MLA and Paul Girvan MLA - was productive.
North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley and SDLP councillor Noreen McClelland were also in attendance on the night and were pleased to add their support to the efforts of the Post 19 Lobby Group.
Post 19 transition marks the transfer from children’s to adult services for young people with severe learning disabilities, and many parents expressed the opinion that the transition from the secure and educationally stimulating environment of school to adult services is like “jumping off a cliff”, as unfortunately the opportunities available to many young people on leaving schools are often not appropriate to their needs.
Julie Jamieson, Chair of Hill Croft PTA stated: “Young people with severe learning disabilities are not looking for special treatment, what they are looking for is equal treatment. This event has brought some very positive commitments from the MLAs in attendance - they will be seeking a Cross-Party Adjournment Debate in Stormont on the transition issue and they have undertaken to sponsor the Lobby Group’s research launch at the Long Gallery in the New Year, so we are very pleased with the outcome.”
Full story and more pictures in this week’s Times...