"As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected
and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever
~Clarence Darrow

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Special Education Report ... Part III

"In Nova Scotia, are we waiting for students to fail and the gap between potential and achievement to widen before particular services
are offered?"

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  • Government, through the Depts of Education and Community Services, collaborate to ensure that students with special needs have access and support for post-school learning options.
Perhaps one of the best sentiments expressed by the Commission:

"For a person to have been educated in an inclusive educational system not to be supported through post-school leaving options is unacceptable".

Perhaps one of their biggest understatements:

"This may be an area that presents another opportunity for inter-agency collaberation".

  • The Department review the course options available to enable students with special needs to graduate with the skills necessary to be lifelong learners and contributing community members.

Its to state the obvious to note that academic and social inclusion work better in the elementary grades than at the middle and high school level. Have you ever felt concerned that your student was attending classes that were beyond his capabilities and that even with adaptations or an IPP, the course content had limited relevance for him?

All youth, especially those with special needs, must have access to a variety of programming options, such as service learning, work experience, co-operative education, apprenticeships and youth pathways. Would the Options and Opportunities (O2) Program be a suitable alternative for your child ... hands on learning opportunities to help with the transition from high school to work? If so, be prepared for the possibility of an uphill battle; you might just be told that "this program isn't meant for your child. You wouldn't him with those kids".

  • The Department continue its promotion of substantive inter-agency co-operation that works towards intergrated services (IS) schools, as well as address the recommendations of the Nunn Commission.

Inter-agency co-operation? Why the words are enough to set a parent's heart all a' flutter...

Perhaps if we're very lucky the Nunn Commission report which emphasized the obvious gaps in jurisdiction, policy and practice between the Departments of Health, Education, Community Services and Justice will help the government realize that "considerations of human rights trump interdepartmental squabbles". An inter-agency protocol needs to be a priority for government departments responsible for children and youth in need of special services.


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