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Monday 22 July 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Garcia wrong on special needs children

THE EDITOR: I refer to Julien Neaves story in the Newsday yesterday. Everything is not being done for special needs children. My son attends Marabella South Secondary School. When he was in Form One he had a special education instructor. She left at the end of form one because she was not being properly compensated to support her family. I called the Ministry Of Education and went to the Special Education Unit, San Fernando, only to be told they had no people to fill the position.

My son is in form five now and the one special education instructor that would assist and help the children prepare for CXC or CSEC at the school had their contract terminated in November 2018 and has not been renewed since, even at this delicate juncture of my son's Education. I called the ministry to talk to the director of Special Education Professor Dennis Conrad who was not available. However, I was given the contact number for the south district officer Ms Alaha, who I tried contacting many times and even went to see, but she was not there. I left my contact number with the person I spoke too, but Ms Alaha never even contacted me.

My son has some hearing and was never encouraged by his speech therapist at Dretchi to do sign. He learned some sign through interaction with deaf friends at the Audrey Jeffers School for the Deaf. While my son has some hearing he is still in need of an instructor as he cannot hear all the information related to him.

The previous special education instructor had years of experience and was doing an excellent job working with my son. She was very dedicated, not only to my son, but to all the children at the school. She has not had her contract renewed for whatever reason since November and, at the end of the day, the children are the ones paying the penalty for the poor service at the Special Education Unit.

They did get two new people to try and work with the children last year, however, the wise thing to do is make sure those two get the proper training and experience that the previous instructor had before terminating her contract. These young instructors are not well-trained and the children are not fully assisted in the way they should be by them. Minister Garcia needs to go to the Special Education Schools and the integrated schools and get feedback from teachers, parents and those directly involved instead of taking chain-up from his advisers.

I really hope the right people get the message so that some real assistance could be given.

KATH

Parent of a special needs child

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