Kai gets new school
ALL of Danielle Lynch's worries about her son's schooling were eased this week.
She had feared her son Kai would never find a place in an education system that had promised to take care of him.
But on Wednesday, following questions from The Gympie Times, Ms Lynch was told the Department of Education and Training would work on finding a solution and yesterday he was enrolled at Gympie West.
Four-year-old Kai, who has autism and central sensory perception disorder, originally started his schooling at Gympie South. Ms Lynch said the school knew about the prep student's condition before enrolling him, and they'd "promised him the world", but later said it was too hard.
Ms Lynch said because of his condition Kai "can't feel himself in space", and spent a lot of time touching and tasting things and could become distressed if someone touched him unexpectedly.
He also liked to crawl into small spaces and sometimes ran off.
"I found out in December and tried to enrol him at Cooloola Christian College, where my daughter goes, but they couldn't take care of his special needs," said the mother of three.
On his first day of prep Kai went into a mainstream class, but when Ms Lynch picked her son up he was in the special education unit.
"I was told he would be in there from now on. I was fine with that," Ms Lynch said.
But last Wednesday the school said they "couldn't handle him anymore" and he could only go to "special education for two hours a day". "They said he should go to Gympie West in the afternoons."
But Gympie West had said they could not enrol Kai, as the family did not live in the right "catchment" area.
And it would have been too much for Ms Lynch, a single mother who works full-time, to drive to and from each school.
The school had claimed Kai was not settling, was out of control and he did not fit in, Ms Lynch said.
"I don't understand why they couldn't change the program to fit Kai. All their complaints were with autism. It's like they don't understand autism…He ran away, put himself in dangerous situations. They were scared he would hurt himself and they were worried about the paperwork."
Now the department has stepped in and Gympie West has accepted Kai.
He will be able to spend two hours in a mainstream prep class and then go to the special education unit.
"He is a handful, but has been at Kids-R-Us for two years. They've never had a problem with him. He never ran away or hurt anyone."
Ms Lynch said Kai was guaranteed only 12 months at West and after that would have to go to Gympie South.
"I don't want him to go to South. They don't want him there."
She will move into the right catchment area if she has to.
In a statement on Wednesday, Department of Education and Training North Coast, regional director Greg Peach said he could not comment on individual student cases for privacy reasons.
He did say the Queensland Government was committed to providing all students with access to a quality education.
"Local schools worked with this family to develop an educational plan that is tailored for this student's needs," he said.
"This student will always be supported by the department. The region will continue to work with the schools and this student's family over the coming weeks to determine the best educational plan and outcome for the child."