Parents demanding support for children with learning difficulties are not pushy

6th March 2009 at 00:00

Your report on parents' lack of awareness of their rights to mediation and dispute resolution as part of the Additional Support for Learning Act ("Parents not aware of their rights", February 6) misses an important point.

Too often, the onus is on "pushy" parents to have to fight to get the support their child needs, rather than on the authorities to provide access as a matter of course. Many parents of children with learning difficulties are afraid to exercise these rights for fear of being branded "difficult", consequently facing greater challenges in accessing this support.

The existence of these rights should not divert us from the main challenge - assigning sufficient resources to additional learning support to ensure that every child with a learning difficulty is properly supported.

The importance of this was underlined by last week's publication of the pupil census for 2008, which showed a 6 per cent rise in the number of pupils with additional support needs. This is to be welcomed, since it suggests that more children with learning difficulties are being properly identified and supported. But it still represents the tip of a much greater iceberg.

Sophie Dow, Founder, Mindroom, Musselburgh.

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