Held back: The experiences of students with disabilities in Victorian schools

A report on the education of students with a disability in Victorian was released by the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission.

The report might be informative were it written in plain language. Unfortunately, it is written in bureaucratic language to downplay the negatives and to hide harsh realities. The report is way way too polite. For example, the summary says "When students with disabilities are unable to enjoy a good education, their future is seriously compromised. A poor education is one of the key reasons why the economic and social participation rate of Australians with disabilities is so low."

The phrase "unable to enjoy" means "denied" or "excluded from". The phrase "economic and social participation rate of Australians with disabilities is so low" means "most Australians with a disability live in poverty" and suffer "chronic unemployment". I am probably asking too much to expect that instead of "their future is seriously compromised" it would just say "they are f**ked".

Its euphemisms make this report essentially unreadable. They dilute the message and encourage those who deliver abysmal outcomes to avoid any real discomfort or feel any responsibility.

Students with ASD feature prominently in the report. It says, in 2011 there were 4,396 students with autism spectrum disorders eligible for PSD funding (out of a total 20,883 ... that is 21% of students eligible for PSD funding). However, A4 notes Centrelink data for Carer Allowance shows there were 3,734 Victorian children aged 6-15 years with Asperger's Disorder and 7,802 with Autistic Disorder (11,536 total - not including any PDD-NOS). The ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers shows most of these students have severe or profound disability, despite just 38% – a bit over 1 in 3 – being eligible for support in the Victorian education system.

The report is available at http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view...

Further media cover of the report is at: