Kids with special needs missing out, say parents

Kids with special needs missing out, say parents

Like their teachers, parents of children with special needs say they're not getting enough support in school.

Of the 100 parents with kids in mainstream education surveyed by parental support group Mothers' Helpers, more than two-thirds reported declines in their children's learning and behaviour, blaming a lack of resources.

Only 29 said their child was "well-supported".

"Parents are also saying it's crucial that there is funding allocated towards special education training for teaching staff, because from our perspective there is a lack of knowledge in this area," says Mothers' Helpers founder Kristina Paterson.

"That means our children don't get the educational support they desperately need."

The survey had a small sample size, but its findings back up a similar survey of teachers earlier this year, which found 90 percent of schools' special needs coordinators don't think they're getting adequate support from the Government.

"Parents of children with special needs have made it very clear that in many cases they have needed a teacher aide to support their child, but there just hasn't been the funding there for them to receive that," says Ms Paterson.

"My child would not be in school at all if he wasn't having individual support by the school [special needs coordinator] and principal because he needs a teacher aide full time but he's not eligible for one."

Other findings from the Mothers' Helpers study include:

Of the special needs coordinators schools do have, the earlier study found two-thirds don't have the time or resources to do their job properly.

Teachers' union the New Zealand Educational Institute estimates around 80,000 children receive special education help each year.