More Support Needed for Students with Special Needs & Autism in Surrey

Two articles published last week highlighted a need for improved support and services for children with special needs and autism.

On June 21st, News 1130 published an article about the reality of shortages facing families with special needs students in Surrey. Parents of special needs students reflected on how the shortage of teachers in BC has translated into fewer hours of individual assistance for their kids. For many students with autism, there is a lack of Educational Assistants (EA) assigned, leaving students in a position where they are not fully supported for educational success. Additionally, there has been a lack of consistency with workers and many are being pulled in different directions and unable to give the focus that\’s needed to support the student.  For its part, the Surrey school district says it has 3,000 special needs students, and that parents who are unhappy with their kids’ education plan can appeal.

A day later, on June 22nd, the Surrey Now-Leader published a story noting that an estimated 40 parents wearing “Team Maya” T-shirts attended a Surrey school board meeting last week. Their purpose? To ask for support worker “continuity” for children with autism and other disabilities. Team Maya was started by Nicole Kaler, a mother of a daughter named Maya who has autism. Kaler filed a Human Rights Tribunal complaint against the Surrey School District and CUPE 728 last year. She said it resulted in her daughter receiving the support Kaler wanted, but that it inspired her to help other parents fight for “systemic change.” Kaler said the issue boils down to some children with disabilities receiving new support workers too often, and the disruption in their care and education that results in. Asked what the school district would do after the parents’ turned out in force to the June 20 board meeting, Strachan said they will each have their individual questions answered. If the school district and CUPE 728 don’t make a change, Kaler said parents are organizing to file further Human Rights complaints. For more on this story, please click here.



CVS believes in the importance of offering the right level of support for the individual. We hope that the concerns expressed by parents are taken seriously by the school district and positive change is taken to improve the level of care for these students.