Cuts to specialist services hit hard

from The Age, Letters

ONLY parents of children with disabilities and their advocates would spot the irony in Bronwyn Pike describing students with disabilities with challenging behaviours as being "through no fault of their own" (The Age, 22/4). Ms Pike's descriptions seems to be at odds with typical school responses to these behaviours — detention/ suspension/expulsion.

Discrimination complaints against the Department of Education are at an all-time high because schools are not resourced to deal with students with disabilities. Ask Ms Pike about the cuts to speech pathology and occupational therapy services to schools, then ask her why schools can't even manage to draw on expertise for behaviour management plans for students. It will be of little comfort to them and their parents upon their expulsion when they learn this is "no fault of their own".

Julie Phillips, Disability Discrimination Legal Service, Melbourne