Out of the 32 schools that offer support to learners with cerebral palsy in Gauteng, an official at the Ekurhuleni district office has allegedly turned one family away, telling them there was no school suitable for their four-year-old with special needs.
Josephine Ndala (71) was disappointed when an official at the Benoni office of the education department allegedly told her that there was no suitable school for her great-grandchild, Sibongile Ndala (4).
“Without looking at the letters we had from doctors, she told me that no school would offer support to Sibongile because she still wears a diaper.”
It was what the official allegedly said next that shattered her hopes to find a school for Sibongile.
“She told me that Sibongile’s mother must care for her child instead of trying to find a school for her. That was hurtful because every child deserves to go to school, and her mother has to work so she can support her. I am old now and unable to give her proper care.”
Parents who want their children with special needs placed in schools are encouraged to do so.
“They can report to the district office and ask for support for admission for their child to a special school for specific reasons. They must also provide all possible reports to support their case,” explained Gauteng Department of Education’s Director of Inclusion and Special Schools, Doctor Hester Costa.
Sibongile is a patient at the neuro-clinic in Tembisa Hospital and is being treated by a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and an eye specialist. Doctors, however, believe that she could ‘benefit from assistance with placement in a school with a speech therapist and occupational therapist’.
Costa said that in the event of being turned away, parents are permitted to appeal the decision.
“Parents can ask for the reason their child was declined a place to be provided to them in writing. They can also request to see the senior official responsible for learner support or elevate the matter to the district director or provincial office,” explained Costa.
Ndala has in the meantime been doing her best to train Sibongile to use the toilet so that she will not need to wear nappies. She is also teaching her how to walk in the hope that she will become independent enough to be given a placement in a special school. – Health-e News.