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Children with special needs pushed aside at school-time

Parents of children with special needs have complained the state has failed to provide the necessary support to allow them to return to school with their classmates.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, parents at a press conference by the ‘Angalia Elpidas’ Association said specialised equipment including a wheelchair would only be available in February while others complained the school board had chosen a non-specialised classroom aid over someone that was better qualified to accompany their child to school.

Other also noted that one class aide was sometimes made responsible for helping up to four children in different classes.

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Association representative Yioulla Pitsialis noted: “All this means that children with special needs will either go to school and not be able to take their lessons properly with the result of falling behind or not being able to go to school at all”.

She said that exactly a year earlier, the Association had picketed the Education Ministry over the same issues and been invited to parliament to brief MPs about the problems, adding: “We are here today because nothing has changed”.

Other parents, meanwhile, also complained that, even though a number of cases were pending in court, they felt unable to take further legal action because of the length of time this would entail.

One parent said their child would have reached middle school by the time the court look at a complaint about primary school.

Also speaking on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Cyprus Confederation of Organisations of the Disabled Christakis Nicolaides suggested that many more parents were hesitant to come forward with their complaints in fear of getting on the Education Ministry’s bad side.

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