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shelley
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PostSubject: Funding Education in NSW   Wed 10 Jun 2009 - 14:46

I heard this mentioned on the radio - and found the news link on 702 radio. Some parents taking the issue of funding tot he Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/10/2594426.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Wed 10 Jun 2009 - 16:51

I think NSW school disability funding is a joke. Our son had a full-time aid at preschool. He sat the IQ test necessary to get school funding and lost all his funding. This was despite the report stating that he refused to sit still during the test etc. In the state system we couldnt even get them to put him under the district disability officer. We are luckier than most as we live on the state border and our son now gets aid funding in Vic. The lack of funding in NSW makes it hard for both students and teachers.
Mel (mum to Stephen (micro) and Abi (D/s)
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Aden's mummy
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Wed 10 Jun 2009 - 18:56

Shelly I often read your Blog and never know what to say. I think Im just scared to dig deeper and stick my head in the sand. We are in QLD not sure if that is better or worse. Should we refuse an IQ test? Would that help us, surly they cant make us how does this all work?
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Wed 10 Jun 2009 - 22:27

Talitha has to have some sort of IQ test tomorrow to keep getting her Early Intervention services. She will have been in the car in excess of 2 hours by the time we get there and I am taking some red lollies to give to her beforehand. I don't care what number they come up with as long as she keeps getting services so I will make sure she is in less than ideal temperament for doing it. Wink
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Aden's mummy
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Wed 10 Jun 2009 - 22:36

Tigger wrote:
Talitha has to have some sort of IQ test tomorrow to keep getting her Early Intervention services. She will have been in the car in excess of 2 hours by the time we get there and I am taking some red lollies to give to her beforehand. I don't care what number they come up with as long as she keeps getting services so I will make sure she is in less than ideal temperament for doing it. Wink


Lol yes this is our plan as well. when ever I read about this on Downsyn I think I'm going to make a huge effort for Aden to fail as much as possible lol
But can they really make our kids sit these TEST, for funding? Is that legal right, what about human right?
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kiwiaussie
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Wed 10 Jun 2009 - 22:58

It is so sad when you have to do that just to get the help for our kids that should be their right! I can't believe how hard it can be. Because we homeschool, we probably won't get any funding anyway, but it sucks that you guys have to fight so hard for it.
It is just as bad in NZ. A friend of mine was made to put her 7 year old deaf daughter back in school (she had been homeschooled) because she wasn't reading to their liking. THEN it took her nearly 3 years to get the funding for a microphone and headset so she could hear the teacher! (and she still wasn't reading! - she also only got 3 hours teacher aide time a week too!)
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 11 Jun 2009 - 5:39

shelly I haven't read your blog before, Cathy thanks for noting it, cos now I have Smile

Yes, it is mind boggling, un nerving, frustrating, dis heartening, all this s*&@! we have to process to get our kids an education. The "f" word determines all. It's a disgrace. I always make reference to the "glossy covered book" that they present when you are applying for funding. The one that says all this ho-hum rubbish about providing what's needed for each individual child to reach their full potential. It just doesn't happen.

Cathy, I was going to refuse having Andy IQ tested before he went to high school. The response was, if I did that, then he would receive no funding at all. The system has one over us Evil or Very Mad

Sorry, this is not very positive at all, but I always looked ahead, and listened to the mums who had been there before me, like Shelly has written about in her blog, and I thought, they all look old and tired! I am never gonna be like them !! but now I am Sad it is a constant battle, not one i am gonna give up on, but it wears you down. Year after year of fighting and testing, and testing and then just a little bit more testing. It's just so unfair!

Why all the testing? Surely by now the so called experts have some idea and average of what people with Ds are capable of? Surely they can assume that all kids with DS entering the education system will require assistance! So why all the testing? And why the assumption that our kids DON'T need funding!!! It blows my mind that on paper Andy has and IQ of around 42. yet the Government thinks he can handle being in a mainstream classroom with no assistance !!! How can they come to that conclusion ???

Shelly, I hope you get the brats into a school you are happy with. I'm sorry this education game is consuming you. It cosumes me too, still !

Wow that was a lot of waffle for this early in the day lol! These education things always get me going !
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shelley
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 11 Jun 2009 - 6:59

Thanks Narelle and Cathy - I think there is something clearly wrong when the better your child does in a standardised test the more people in the know want to give you their commiserations!!! We are very proud of the little brat (whatever her IQ) but we are proud of her doing quite well in the test - she got the 'mild' label. What we are not happy about is that means there is no point applying for targetted funding 'cos she won't get any.

I am sure she is a bright little monkey but I also see every day that she is side by side with her twin that she has an intellectual disability that makes mainstream activities much harder for her. I still cannot believe that a diagnosis of DS is not enough for direct funding... it is appalling and I am glad that those parents are trying to raise awareness of it - on the news it was reported that 80% of school principals described funding for special needs education as 'poor' - that is appalling.

At least I am lucky in that I am planning on staying working part time for another couple of years - it isn't all that convenient (or best from work's point of view) but what else can I do - I need to be in a position where I can be proactive in her education, and that is what I am planning on.
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 11 Jun 2009 - 12:44

We have just been through the 'testing' phase (again). They did an IQ test on Brielle as its the only way we can get funding for her for school Evil or Very Mad .
We did sleep deprive her for the test I figure if they want us to play the game I will play the game just not according to 'their' rules.
What I didnt realise is that IQ is all about verbal ability Evil or Very Mad Brielle is almost totally non-verbal so there were whole sections that we didnt even start because there was no point.
I am not looking forward to getting the score next week but I do know in the big scheme of things its only a number. We are proud of everything she can do not the things she cant do.
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Di
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 11 Jun 2009 - 13:56

Shelley - you may still be able to get some funding based on specific things. Can't remember them but for example, Isabella is toilet trained, but there may be no guarantee that she will be able to take hereself to the toilet and then not wander off somewhere else (sorry can't think of other examples) but even with a mild diagnosis these things can be ticked off seperately as needing funding.

Get in touch with the NSW DS association for advice - they were awesome with it. I went to their transition to school seminar and this was the very thing they spoke about.

I am so dismayed about the support in the NSW school system but there are some ways around it if you get a good principal too. Eg one I spoke with said that he would bundle Isabella in with a girl who has physical special needs and as a result automatically gets a full day aide - but ofcourse the little girl wouldn't be needed 1-1 support the whole day (so having both Bella and the other little girl in the same class would make best use of the funding they do get without negatively impacting on anyone).

Good luck, and thanks for posting about these very relevent topics.

Di
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Sat 13 Jun 2009 - 19:20

Hi guys,

I am happy this topic is discussed.
Emily starts school in January and I am not planning to apply for special consideration funding every year.

The DSA NSW has sent a letter to the Minister about this and I am working with the Down's Syndrome Association NSW to get a letter to the Department of Education and Training (DET) to include all children with DS in the Funding Support Program. In fact, I will be writing the draft letter and the DSA NSW will do the research necessary for writing the letter.

In the letter will be discussed why all children with DS should


automatically access the Funding Support Program
through providing a Disability Confirmation document for Downs Syndrome students
.

I spoke to someone from DET and he kind of said DET would never do this, because there are other options available within DET (I like a challenge). So in the letter, attention
will go towards exploration of options available, such as Learning
Support Team, teachers, school counselors and specialist support
teachers and why this does not work for DS kids with a mild development
delay.


Also discussed will be behaviour problems in DS,

the safety risks (walking away from playground) and that they are slow learners and need tasks explained in little steps, so that is why they need the Funding Support Program.

My understanding is that the Funding Support Program offers the School Learning Support Officer (used to be called an Aid) and we need to explain why with DS children with a mild development delay this funding is needed and make sure this does not create a precedent for "all" children with a mild development delay, who do not necessary need this type of support.

It is still in it's early stages, but I am happy to hear experiences related to the text above. Especially from parents who have had experience with a child with DS with a mild development delay in a classroom, to hear what the specific problems are (were) in the classroom, which support has been used, if they have applied for special consideration funding and how much time and energy was involved in this and the outcome in hours support. And any other relevant information.

I also would like to hear about arguments why with DS the students should all be included in the Funding Support Program. I know nothing about schools, so will need some input about how issues related to DS translate to performing in schools and the need for the specific support through the Funding Support Program.

Hopefully we'll get some positive outcome if we give it our best shot, so please support this initiative and leave your message here or write to ingridrikkert@yahoo.com.au


Last edited by Inky on Sun 14 Jun 2009 - 15:05; edited 1 time in total
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shelley
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Sun 14 Jun 2009 - 10:39

That sounds great - I had read in the NSW DSA newsletter a little about it - but wasn't sure what it actually involved. Hannah starts Kindy next Jan too - and with a mild intellectual disability is not eligible for targetted funding. The dept funding guru in our area is lovely but when I spoke to her she basically said 'if she gets a 'moderate'' then call back and we can look at specific funding - otherwise it is the LAP program. I really don't get why a DS diagnosis isn't sufficient (it is for autism - and there is diversity in that diagnosis too) - because it is things such as her speech delay as well as her processing/auditory issues that will impact on her ability to achieve in a mainstream class.

Given the funding issue in dept schools I have taken the view that I may as well look at our local catholic school because she will not be getting 'less' support in that environment given the funding situation at the moment - and we are a catholic family.

Do you know whether this initiative is likely to apply to other education settings (such as CEO schools) if successful? I am more than happy to do what I can to help - once Han is in a regular class and I can actually see how her DS diagnosis impacts on her learning in the reg classroom - just let us know in what way we might be able to help.

Good luck with the letter - I really think that the funding at the moment disadvantages our kids and a lot of the progress that they have been able to achieve with family support and EI services. I can't see how Han can really be expected to do more than 'cope' in a reg classroom without some specific adaptations and aid support.
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Inky
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Sun 14 Jun 2009 - 15:10

Thanks for your comments Shelley. This is important input.

For now, the request for including DS children in the Funding Support Program will only be targeted at schools funded by the Dep of Education and Training. They are working on a new system based on a functional assessment, but as government processes are extremely slow, this could take another few years.

Thanks and I will let you know if additional information is needed. Probably something will go out through the DSA NSW too.
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shelley
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Sun 14 Jun 2009 - 20:03

What exactly is a 'functional assessment'? I know the principal and the Learning Support person are going to go and watch Han at preschool and speak with the teacher there as part of their enrolment procedure - is that a form of functional assessment?
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caspearson
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Mon 15 Jun 2009 - 14:02

I think the Griffiths Scales are the functional assessment?

http://www.hogrefe.co.uk/?/test/show/35/

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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Mon 15 Jun 2009 - 19:03

A functional assessment is an assessment based on functions. This means that for instance an analyses will be made of going to the toilet. Is this independant or is assistance needed with helping to get on the toilet, putting pants on etc. Same for eating: independant or assistance needed with opening lunch box etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 18 Jun 2009 - 21:21

hmmm. this has got me really thinking.

Emily has never had an IQ test....??

She goes to a SSP and its a fantastic school. She is 1 of 6 children in her class with 1 teacher and a teacher's aid. It's a great little school and she is very happy there, and I am very happy with the school.

I think if she were to go mainstream it would be a very different story. But our local school as an IM unit that is also great and hopefully Em will be able to attend that school in the future. Would be nice to have all the girls at the same school ♥

I feel like I'm living in a bubble here. I feel your pain lovely ladies but I have never really experienced it myself. Things have been good for us education wise, even EI wise too. We are very lucky where we live.
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 6:42

Talitha's results came back. She was in the extremely low and borderline categories which in education department terms put her at the very bottom end of mild delay. This means she gets no aide, no assistance when she starts school because "mild delay" is a huge category which includes kids who are just under normal and kids like Talitha who are right on the border. She will be tested again before she starts school and we are going to have to try very hard to get her to fail the testing. I am not sure how to do that as I watched her fail most of the tests she had and she still came in as "mild". She knew a cat said "meow" and pointed at a picture that showed rain and that was about it in terms of what she got right. I think to get an aide kids would have to be unable to complete any of the tests. She came across as totally non-verbal even though she isn't which gave her the 'very low' score and her non-compliance on the other tests gave her the 'borderline' score. She is eligible for early intervention services, just nothing at school.

If I am unable to get her an aide or some sort of support when she starts school then I will home school her. I was planning on letting her do at least a couple of years at school to help her with making friends but if I can't get her help from somewhere I am not going to let her get even further behind by sitting in class without help.

It is interesting that having a diagnosis of DS automatically puts her in the category to get DADHC services and other disability services but it counts for nothing in the school system.
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 8:52

Banging head RATS, I just lost a big post!!!

Basic jist was
1) that stinks!
2) is there a private school in your area that you could join up with for certain activities only, while homeschooling her, giving you the chance to have that interaction, but not too over the top? I know you are in a rural area, so this might not be possible, but thought I'd suggest it just in case - some of these private schools are in the most unexpected places!
3) Could she attend the local state school for say, mornings only, and you go with her as her aide? More effort on your part than homeschooling, but if you are concerned with the idea of her making friends at school, it might be a workable compromise.
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shelley
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 9:54

Quote :
It is interesting that having a diagnosis of DS automatically puts her in the category to get DADHC services and other disability services but it counts for nothing in the school system.

Bang
It S**KS doesn't it? The whole thing is so discouraging. I think homeschooling is definitley an option worth considering. I was discussing it last week with DH - we are still waiting to hear if the private school think they can cope with Hannah Rolling Eyes (cos she is SO tricky Wtf - I thought they were interested in education!!) For us we are lucky living in the city - if I do homeschool I could use the facilities around. ALso the brats have swimming and music lessons so social stuff can be covered that way.

Good Luck!
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 12:45

I was thinking that I might have to go to the school as her aide. I am not sure that would be the best thing for her as she tends to be more compliant for others than for me. We are likely to be in a different area by the time she goes to school. I am totally over these sub-zero temperatures and the place we are living. Hopefully we will be norther (somewhere between Taree and Kempsey???) soon. I think hubby is warming to the idea (pun intended).

So not only will we have to find all new services for Talitha, we will also have to look for a new high school and a new primary school. Or homeschool which is also on the cards.
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 22:38

Yeh definately keep warming DH to the moving idea.
We could see you guys more often.

That totally sucks about the aide, Wtf do they think is going to happen when Talitha decides to escape?????????????? Let alone having her slip further through the cracks in the classroom.

Im certainly not looking forward to this part of our journey. Maybe i better start sussing out schools now scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 9 Jul 2009 - 15:29

Oh Tigger that is absolutely unbeleivable Hair pulling whilst i think that homeschooling for our kids can be a really good option, it stinks that we all consider it due to the lack of services. How on earth can they expect Talitha to be educated in a classroom without an aide !!! The whole education thing is sooooooo frustrating !!
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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 9 Jul 2009 - 15:36

Buggsie wrote:
whilst i think that homeschooling for our kids can be a really good option, it stinks that we all consider it due to the lack of services.

hehe I agree! homeschooling should be FIRST choice, and govt education services should be LAST choice Razz hehe Wink IMHO

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PostSubject: Re: Funding Education in NSW   Thu 9 Jul 2009 - 15:44

You know the thing is to me Cas, homeschooling makes so much sense for our kids ! but it's the thought of having Andy with me 24/7 that puts me off lol!

We've just returned from a few days in Victorias high country, at Bright and the snow. Andy is just sooooo relaxed and easy to deal with during holiday times ! Haha it always tempts me to just not send him back to school. Who knows, it will probably happen one day lol
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