No provision for disabilities

19th September 2008 at 01:00
In relation to your report "Cash injection could add fuel to mediation fire" (September 5), I would like to point out that, as a parent of a child with a disability in dispute with my authority about my child's educational provision, I have received excellent, independent advice about educational law and its implications from Independent Special Educational Advice.

I am truly sick of the wholesale misrepresentation in the educational establishment of parents like myself who have turned to ISEA for help in dealing with a recalcitrant authority. No parent wishes to devote years of his or her life to battling with education officials. No parent would wish all hope of an adequate education to be lost to his or her child.

The TESS should question why there are no standards and no provision appropriate to the needs of most children with a disability, such as autism. The Additional Support for Learning Act has made it virtually impossible for any parent to achieve an appropriate education for his or her child through the tribunal system,

Why, in the 21st century, is there no mandatory qualification for teachers of children with special education needs? Why are there no quality indicators for school inspections specific to the needs of children with disabilities? Why are the vast majority of children with autism forced into mainstream placements which inevitably break down, leading to exclusion and part-time education?

The education establishment and the Government cannot continue to have their cake and eat it: they cannot deny legal rights to a basic education to children with disabilities, while comprehensively failing to adopt standards in a system which is bursting at the seams with standards for the rest of the school population.

Fiona Sinclair, convener, Autism Rights, Dunure, Ayrshire.

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