Langley parent fights to help children with special needs

Outside support necessary to help children who do not speak. Education system provides speech therapy once every two weeks.

A Langley family with three children with special needs in the school system say they can speak first hand about the cuts to funding for special needs students.

Lisa Moore-Penner claims speech therapy has been cut to one session every two weeks and special education assistants no longer can do one-on-one work, but are forced to share their time among several students in one class, no matter how high the needs of the students.

The Moore-Penners are a blended family with five kids, three of them with higher levels of special needs.

Their twin girls do not speak, have mobility issues and have low cognitive ability. Another child has mild intellectual disability.

“This year, they cut the twins’ funding and put them in the same class with one Special Education Assistant (SEA) shared between three students. The twins need one SEA each due to their high needs,” said Moore-Penner.

“Their speech therapy has been cut. Because they do not speak, and there is no funding for more speech therapy in the district, we have received funding from the Variety Club, CKNW and Presidents Choice Financial.”

Collaboratively, they provide speech therapy five days a week, at an annual cost of $45,000.

“We were told that for our third child that she wasn’t “bad” enough to warrant any extra help such as an education assistant, and that the resource teacher would try and get her a 30-minute session for extra help next year, but that her case load was so high that she wasn’t sure if this would happen.”

Langley School District spokesperson Ken Hoff said the district has been in ongoing conversations with this family for sometime now.

“She is a great champion for her children, which is great and how it should be. But we feel there are a lot of resources and supports allocated to her children and to all our students with special needs.”

Moore-Penner would disagree.

“There are so many special needs children in the system and they are not being adequately funded for their needs.  My story is just an example how we are fighting every day to get the proper resources and funding.”

She had a meeting with the assistant superintendent of schools in Langley on Monday to go over the needs of her children.

While there has been a slight increase in funding each year to fund SEAs and resources, it pales in comparison to the increased number of special needs students entering the system. Early diagnosis of disorders like autism and higher amounts of mental illness and learning challenges, like ADHD and anxiety among young children, has exploded. Some parents would argue the government’s funding formulas haven’t kept up with the demand.

Teachers are on strike, battling for both a wage increase and for better classroom composition, as they have indicated that their classes are being filled with special needs students who dominate their time.

A special lesson plan has to be set up for each special needs student and many teachers say there are not enough SEAs to support those students in the classroom.

Just Posted

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

ELECTION: Langley Township council candidate Michael Pratt

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

VIDEO: Fire crew mopping up workshop fire near Golden Ears Bridge

Structure fire at 208 and 102B sending plumes of black smoke into air above Walnut Grove

Two Giants picked to play against Russia

Two of Langley’s junior hockey players will be part of the six-game Canada Russia Series next month.

Police want to talk to two pedestrians who might have witnessed shooting

Nobody injured in Sept. 18 shooting on Flagman Street in Abbotsford

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

MCFD, FPSSS restricts caregivers from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care

Ministry restricts cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Most Read