Education Frustrations for Children with Disabilities

The Birmingham Post (England), October 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Education Frustrations for Children with Disabilities


Byline: ILDI MCINDOE

Dear Editor, - I have just read the article regarding Ms Celeste Cole and her problem with finding suitable education facilities for her daughter who has Downs Syndrome. I understand only too well the frustrations that she faces as I also have first hand experience of trying to find the best facilities not just for my daughter but also for other children with disabilities.

Although I do not live in the Birmingham area and therefore am not under the Birmingham Education Authority I do know that there is a Parent Partnership Service available in the area, they offer support and advice to parents who are finding it difficult to obtain information from the LEA.

I am an Independent Parental Supporter in Staffordshire the LEA that I belong to and I have helped some parents to bridge the gap between need and supply! The PPS was formed due to legislation by the National Children's Bureau to insist that help is given to the children that need it most.

I do know that there is a Disabled Children Forum Steering Group which holds monthly meetings in Birmingham, contact details are Doreen Wiffen-Jones, Co-ordinator, telephone 0121 214 2020, they are based on 5th Floor, 154 Gt Charles Street, Bham B3 3HN. This forum as far as I am aware consists of both professionals and parents whose aims are to improve facilities in Birmingham for children with SEN.

My own daughter has attended mainstream school from nursery to at present high school. She is 13 years old and one of twin girls. I am already thinking and finding out information with regard to the next phase of her education. I therefore find it difficult to understand why no other agencies except the Downs Syndrome Association was contacted throughout Ms Cole's quest to find the right facility for her daughter. There are support groups and agencies coming out of your every crevice in all areas and they are there to support, help and advise parents and carers.

It seems that Ms Cole was being very narrow sighted if she relied on social services and the city council to help her get the best for her daughter, especially as she is a teacher herself and has access to a mountain of information that would be harder for parents who are not used to the education system to access. …

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