Kids excluded from school ‘crying for help’ | Radio NZ
Original article: Kids excluded from school ‘crying for help’
Children with high needs, such as autism, are being denied a full and fair education due to a lack of specialised teacher training and resources, parents and educators say.
They are calling on the Ministry of Education to offer more support to mainstream schools so that they have the resources to not only manage children with high needs, but offer them the learning experience they deserve.
Christine Cosgrove is at her wits’ end. Her son Christian has been suspended from school four times in five years, and she says he will be expelled if he’s suspended once more.
The nine-year-old has high functioning autism and ADHD and receives just a couple of hours of teacher aide assistance per day. The year-four-student has sensory issues, so if it’s too loud or busy he gets confused and upset. If he feels cornered, he will push, scream, hide or run.
His mother fears no other school will accept him if he is expelled, and said it was through no fault of his own.
“He had an outburst with the teacher aide who got right in his face when he was escalated, and she did all the wrong things. They should all know what to do, how to be and how to diffuse the situation but they don’t, and he gets punished for it,” the Christchurch woman said.
“I’m hearing so many stories now about children just like Christian that are ignored and left behind and are suffering in these schools. They’re getting stood down, they’re getting excluded, they’re getting expelled, and then they’ve got nowhere to go.”
Checkpoint with John Campbell has heard from more than 10 parents who said their children had been excluded from mainstream school or school activities due to behaviours associated with their disorders and disabilities, or because they were put in the too-hard-basket.
One child was removed from kapa haka group because they couldn’t stand still or stop singing, another was asked to stay home because their teacher aide had resigned, and another wasn’t even invited to school camp – even though the parents were willing and able to attend.
Ms Cosgrove is just one of many parents who said they were tired of battling the system.
“He thinks completely differently to a neuro-typical child and needs a different type of education and the problem is that’s not being provided to children like Christian.”
More specialist teachers were urgently needed to meet the needs of children like Christian, she said.