Government announces more support for children with special needs
On 4 November 2018, the Coalition Government announced that approximately 600 additional Learning Support Coordinators will be employed by 2020. In her statement, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, highlighted a struggle that is all too familiar for UpsideDowns member families:
“One in five New Zealand children has a disability or other learning and behavioural needs and it’s been too hard, for too long, for them to get the support at the right time.”
It is our hope at UpsideDowns that this initiative will lead to an increase in referrals to us from schools. At present, we receive very few of these referrals, but those we do are typically for low-income or recent immigrant whanau. Therefore, we are optimistic that these changes may lead to the greater diversity among our membership which our Outreach Programme is currently being directed at.
The Education Minister, Hon Tracey Martin, stated:
“The Government is progressing its plan to ensure every child with barriers to learning has access to the tools and professionals they need.”
At UpsideDowns, we believe that every child with Down syndrome has the right to access the education they require, and that accordingly they should be given the speech language therapy that has been proven to unlock their potential and give them the tools to communicate. Therefore, we are excited about this announcement, and hope that it is an indication of further changes to come for children with Down syndrome across Aotearoa.