Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children

by Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children
Pay Assessment Fees for Special Needs Children

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered many changes in the home, at school and accessing services, from April 2020—some major, like learning remotely from home, and some minor, like sitting farther apart on the school bus or in the class room. While most students have had routines interrupted, the children perhaps most affected by that disruption are special education students.

Generally special needs children and their families depend on a structured routine—and that’s gone. It’s now parents who must establish that routine, and there is no prescription for what that looks like in during COVID-19 and beyond.

As a result, both parents and  special needs children have struggled through a trial-and-error process to find what works—and what doesn’t—to encourage their children to engage with virtual education and/or in-person education is more difficult and different than it did before COVID-19.

While parents who are marginalized and could not get daycare, school and full time jobs were already struggling this is another war for survival. Parents now have become the school, the teachers, the lunch monitors, the school nurse, the recess monitor, and now they’re also becoming the researcher as they try out different routines and these varying roles has been incredibly stressful for both parents and child.

A lot of the questions that parents and guardians have is where do I get help and assistance with basic things such as food, disposable diapers, formula, etc. Parents of special needs children have been consistently and completely overwhelmed from working, juggling the school from home and work from home balance is very, very difficult for them coupled with economic hardships made worst by COVID-19

In dealing with this whole cascading nightmare where many parents felt they didn’t have any assistance from state agencies  while historically many schools and other state agencies provided very little in terms of special education or services parents are dealing with lack of basic items.

This is a double-edged sword. This is giving special needs parents a much bigger burden, it’s tough for all parents right now, but it’s even tougher for parents of children with special needs.

You donation will help a small number of special needs children get basic items and we thank you.

Over the last 8 months we have provided food, disposible diapers and clothing to 9 families with special needs children and we want to continue supporting them and more. 

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Packing food parcels to distribute to needy
Packing food parcels to distribute to needy

Seismic shifts across our society—racial justice movements around the world and a pandemic—have further brought to light the socioeconomic inequities embedded in our ecosystems for centuries. As our communities adapt to new realities, the vision of how we support, influence, and provide for special needs people within our society is critical and can no longer be ignored. 

Little has been done to provide people with disabilities with the guidance and support needed to protect them during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, even though many of them are part of the high-risk group except for including a sign language component to the briefings.

People with disabilities in Saint Lucia feel they have been left behind; measures, such as social distancing and self-isolation has become impossible for those who rely on the support of others to eat, dress and bathe.

Many people with disabilities depend on services that have been suspended for months and they did not have enough money to stockpile food and medicine, or afford the extra cost of home deliveries.

We have tried to provide basic food and items such as disposable diapers and wipes but this has in no way minimized the total marginalization of special needs children

We need your support to continue provide minimal support to those who are less able to provide for themselves in those critical times.

We distributed a total of 320 food parcels to as many households however this is not sufficient to last for any extended period and all those persons are already in dire need. 

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The sudden halt to all normal school and social activities since from March 16, 2020 will result in many physical outbursts as anticipated by many parents with special needs children as the sudden change in their routines while special needs children are confined to their homes for an entire month to protect and prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus. 

Special Needs Children get very combative when they are restricted and their routines changes.  This situation will become an extraordinary test case for the restrictive new reality soon to be felt by dozens of special needs kids and their families across the country. 

The virus that causes COVID-19 is being passed from person to person through respiratory secretions. Experts think that the virus can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces. For example, if you touch a doorknob or other surfaces that an infected person has touched or sneezed on then you touch your face, you could pick up the virus.

Special needs parents are marginalized and vulnerable in many ways including socially and financially, with products such as wipes, disposable diapers, paper towels, toilet tissue, hand sanitizers, etc being sold out they are left to fend for themselves in this crisis.

 All personal care items including but not limited to paper towels, wipes, tissue, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, etc is sold out our special needs and domestic violence victims are at risk more than ever as they do not have the financial means to buy bulk like everyone else.

With your help we can raise the monies necessary to provide this vulnerable and marginalized population the necessary supplies to protect themselves from this dreaded virus.

 

 

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Three years later special needs children are still marginalized by the Government of Saint Lucia, special needs children's allowance was cut from $110 to $78 putting additional pressure on poor families to provide for their special needs children. Disposible diapers and wipes are extremely expensive on island as it attracts high importation fees, while the government has cut funding it has implemented no politics to provide relief. 

While our funding goals fell short this year we still continued to support eleven (11) special needs children our of a total of forty two families who contacted us for support, providing disposible diapers, wipes, chucks and non perishable foods.

We are working to get core funding so we may better support special needs children by including them in our work program and making them a more visible part of our mission and goals. 

We continue to hope that locals will step up and contribute to supporting special needs children from poor marginalized families in 2020.

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Children with special needs and disabilities are being marginalised by mainstream schools in Saint Lucia as the system does not incentivise educators to be inclusive, if a parent wants their child to be in public school she needs to have the resources to hire a full time baby sitter to remain with the child at all times during school hours.   

The government is misjudging the financial impact of allowing class teachers to determine if a special needs child will be allowed in the class room or a head teacher to allow a special needs child into the school. With rising numbers of pupils with special needs unable to be accommodated in mainstream schools and very little being taught in the two special needs centers on island, special needs children who are gifted are being marginalized for being different by the entire system.

“Poor parents  are expected to cover the cost of school baby sitters and the financial pressures can make them reluctant to admit or keep pupils in school" one parent told us. “Another barrier is that the perception by teachers and principals are that schools with high numbers of children with special needs may also appear to perform less well against performance metrics.”

“While the Government via the Ministry of Education and Social Justice will say we have improved special educational needs support to put families at the heart of the system and give them better choices in their children’s education, whether in mainstream or special school,” speaking with parents of special needs children this appears to be a non existent policy.

We therefore advocate strongly that parents  with special needs children be given the same opportunities to choose a school of their choice for their children's education and that the government provide the necessary resources so special needs children can be educated in mainstream education. 

“We hear awful stories every day of autistic children who are being held back from getting the education they deserve because schools don’t understand or can’t meet their needs or parents cannot afford special needs assessments. This can be devastating for them and their families, and mean they lose all faith in the system. 

We continue to ask for your donation to support children by providing special needs assessments to give special needs children of poor marginalized parents a chance to get an education. 

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Organization Information

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc

Location: GROS ISLET - Saint Lucia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ourvoiceslu
Project Leader:
Catherine Sealys
President
GROS ISLET, LC Saint Lucia
$2,015 raised of $18,500 goal
 
62 donations
$16,485 to go
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