NSW special needs chief James O’Brien has told the ABC that there is no reason to stop the expansion of special education facilities in the state.
Key points:Special education chief James Kettle says special needs services are already expanding in the communityJames Kettle told the National Children’s Bureau he was “sad” at the state’s failure to provide the resources needed to ensure people with special needs could access careIn his first interview since being appointed special education minister, Mr O’Brien said the “unfortunate” situation of NSW was “inextricably linked” to the current government’s policies.
“I think there is a lot of misinformation out there and it’s very hard to put an exact figure on the number of people with disabilities,” he said.
“And I think the problem is that there are people that don’t know what they’re missing.”
There’s a whole range of things that are out there, which is very difficult to sort out.
“It’s not just one thing, it’s a range of different things.”
Special education services already expandIn November, the ABC revealed NSW Special Education Services (SES) were planning to expand their services to include the provision of special needs education.
The expansion will see more specialist services, including those for deaf and hard of hearing children, as well as support services for people with autism and speech pathology.SES director of services Paul McColl told the national Children’s Board’s inquiry that while they would “never” stop expanding services to special needs children, the “dynamics” of the current situation meant they needed to be extended further.
“When you look at our capacity and the resources that we have, it is certainly not a situation where we would be stopping or even increasing our capacity,” Mr McColl said.
Mr O’Neill said there was “no reason” for the Government not to provide more services to the community.
“The fact that we are still seeing a situation in NSW where a lot more services are not being provided, we are not providing services to people who need them, it simply shows how dysfunctional this situation is in NSW,” he told the program.
“You need to be able to do everything that you can to make sure that when you’re doing services for a particular population, you’re providing services that are appropriate to that particular population.”
Mr Ollie said he was aware of the concerns of the community but the Government needed to address the issue.
“What we’re looking at is making sure that special needs are being appropriately provided,” he added.
“We’re not giving the impression that we’re not, but we are providing services which are appropriate for that particular community.”‘
People with disabilities are not a problem’Mr Olli said he believed special needs people could be provided with special education.
“They’re a problem, and people with disability are not an issue.
We need to make the case for that,” he argued.”
Our approach to special education is to work with parents and guardians to develop a plan that will ensure that there’s a safe and secure environment for their children.”
Special Education Minister and special education and literacy advocate, Michael Maguire, welcomed the comments.
“This is a very encouraging and constructive discussion,” he wrote in a statement to the ABC.
“Special education needs are growing and there is still much work to do to meet the needs of all children, particularly those with special educational needs, and to make special education a safe, reliable and comprehensive service.”
Topics:mental-health,children,government-and-politics,education,nsw,australiaContact Tracey SmithMore stories from New South Wales