Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Education Matters

Calls for Review of Disability Funding Assessments

source Janet Woollard

Independent Member for Alfred Cove, Dr Janet Woollard MP, is calling on the State Government to review funding and care level assessments for students with disabilities.  This follows a recent incident in which the Department of Education’s Schools Plus  funding program rejected the application for full time care for a kindergarten student who requires this support to ensure she is safe at school and able to interact with other children and staff.
 
Dr Woollard said the current system was onerous, time consuming, difficult and has the potential to inadvertently exclude students with disabilities who require significant care.
 
“One of my constituents, Sarah Lee,  has contacted me very distressed as she has just been informed Schools Plus have have only allocated her five year old daughter Jasmine, who suffers from epilepsy and Global development delay, part-time care at kindergarten, which she commenced this week,” Dr Woollard said.
 
“The kindergarten and Jasmine’s mum Sarah made Schools Plus well aware of Jasmine’s need for help, as her initial application was submitted last  September.  The application consisted of reports regarding her daughters history and diagnosis from Speech, OT, Physiotherapists, as well as a neurologist and a neuropsychologist assessment.
 
“Even with all the evidence pointing to the help Jasmine needs, she has only been granted nine rather than the 15 hours of support she needs with an Education Assistant. “
 
Jasmine’s development delay means she doesn’t have any speech and some of her cognitive processes are that of a two year old. In addition, she suffers from a severe form of epilepsy including ‘drop attacks’ whereby she suddenly loses consciousness without warning.
 
Dr Woollard said the Disabilities Services Commission allocated Jasmine a full-time carer throughout her time at day-care, yet Schools Plus will only grant Jasmine a 0.3 allocation at Kindergarten.
 
“It is unacceptable that Jasmine was allocated proper funding and care in day-care, yet inadequate funding at kindergarten, which is fundamental to her development.”
 
Sarah Lee, mother of Jasmine, said the entire process has been a struggle.
 
“I am not the only parent of a child with special needs that has encountered the problem of acquiring the necessary support from the Education Department,” Sarah said.
 
“This should not be a standardised allocation based on some overarching developmental diagnosis, but an individualised assessment based on each child’s level of need.”
 
Dr Woollard has written to Education Minister, Peter Collier, requesting the Jasmine’s case be reviewed urgently.

 

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