CCS Disability Action supports more early investment in disabled children

CCS Disability Action supports more investment in the early years of a disabled child’s life. Overseas evidence has shown that disabled children receive generally the same benefits, or even greater, from early childhood education as their non-disabled peers. It is vital that disabled students fully participate in early childhood education.

CCS Disability Action Chief Executive, David Matthews, said his organisation was set up 80 years ago because young disabled children were not getting a fair go – and this is still the situation we face today.

“Clearly, the current allocation of resources is not as effective as we would like, so we need to do things differently and better. While I can understand the concerns of school principals, if we invest earlier, then it is likely that there will be less need for support later on.”

Mr Matthews noted that the Ministry of Education had said no one currently receiving learning support would be made worse off by the changes.

“As long as the Ministry of Education proceeds gradually, but steadily, no one should be worse off and a lot of young disabled children will get a fairer go. I am cautious about seeing more details, but there is a clear need to invest earlier.”

Mr Matthews said that more resources in themselves do not guarantee success.

“There needs to be changes to the teaching and learning environment. The Ministry will need to do more work with early childhood providers, as well as continue to work with schools, to ensure that they are more welcoming and more inclusive – there is still a long way to go.”

Mr Matthews emphasised the need to focus on more than just improved educational outcomes.

“Improved educational outcomes are important, but we also need to see more action on housing, general disability support and income support for disabled children and their whānau. Poverty and a lack of opportunities to play with their non-disabled peers are big issues for disabled children. There needs to be more cooperation between different Ministries to ensure disabled children get a good start in life across the board, not just in education.”

Media Release - distributed 23/8/2016 - CCS Disability Action