Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MORE MUST BE DONE TO HELP YOUNGSTERS; Teesside Mums in Call over Special Needs Education Eleanor, Nine, Who Has as Underachievers

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MORE MUST BE DONE TO HELP YOUNGSTERS; Teesside Mums in Call over Special Needs Education Eleanor, Nine, Who Has as Underachievers

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNA DESIRA

TEESSIDE mums of children with disabilities and learning difficulties say more must be done to ensure children with special needs are not dismissed as merely underachievers.

The call from mums who are members of Stockton Parent Support (SPS) comes after the Government published a Green Paper proposing the biggest reform of Special Educational Needs in 30 years.

The Government has started consultation on its proposals which include: * Including parents in the assessment process and introducing a legal right, by 2014, to give them control of funding for the support their child needs; * Replacing statements with a single assessment process and a combined education, health and care plan; * An overhaul of teacher training and professional development to better help pupils with special educational needs and raising their attainment.

SPS was formed in 1999 by parents who recognised the need for appropriate out-of-school activities for youngsters aged up to 19 with complex and additional needs.

Rebecca Cleasby is chair of SPS.

The 36-year-old, from Yarm, is a Redcar and Cleveland Council worker who is married to Michael, 37, a Darlington Council worker, and has children Eleanor, nine, who has Downs Syndrome, and Olivia, seven.

She said: "My child has a diagnosis because she has Downs Syndrome but I have spoken to parents of other children who don't have a diagnosis because they can't fit into a box.

"You have to fit the box for their assessment - you have to look at each child and each family.

"I think the Green Paper is good in as much as it is putting more emphasis on the key disabilities services but additional work needs to be done to include discussions with families, services and charities and people who are employed to work with people with special needs. …

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