Green Party to launch inquiry into special needs education

A Parliamentary Inquiry into dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders in schools in New Zealand has been initiated by the Green Party.

Following a request from the Green Party, today the Education and Science Select Committee agreed to investigate the identification of and support for students facing the significant challenges of dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders.

Green Party Education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said, “So many students are missing out on education because their learning differences are not identified early enough and help is not made available.  We want to change the system so every child has a fair go.” 

This comes following a report on the recent survey conducted by the Northland Principals Association about needing support for Special Education & Behavioural Concerns.

104 Northland principals took part in a survey on Special Education Behavioural concerns, with over half of them saying there's not enough resources or assistance provided to deal with the issue.

Significant numbers of New Zealanders live with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders:

  •          13,000 children between 2-14 have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s syndrome),
  •          autism is estimated to affect 40,000 people,
  •          dyslexia is estimated to affect 70,000 people, and
  •          dyspraxia is estimated to affect 70,000 school children.

Green Party's Delahunty said, “There needs to be strong processes and support in place to enable these learners to make the most of their educational opportunities.

Investigations at an early level of education are important before students may become discouraged from education at higher levels."

She also said, "While this is great news for special needs learners, I am disappointed that the Select Committee has not taken up my Te Reo in schools inquiry as well.

I urge a wide range of parents, schools, and teachers to participate and engage in the Select Committee process that is going ahead."