Mum of disabled son hits out over class closure

PARENTS of a severely disabled little boy are desperately pleading with education chiefs for more support.

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Donna fears Kai will be badly affected when he has to move from Broomlea nursery classPicture: Martin Shields
Donna fears Kai will be badly affected when he has to move from Broomlea nursery classPicture: Martin Shields

Donna Ward said her son Kai's nursery class has shut - but she was told only two weeks before the closure.

Five-year-old Kai has complex needs and Donna fears teachers in his new class will not be prepared to cope with him.

He started at Broomlea Early Years Centre at the age of two and Donna had expected him to stay there until he was eight.

Although he is in primary one, teachers kept him in the nursery class due to the extent of his needs.

Donna, 32, said: "Kai has severe cerebral palsy and is registered blind. There were delays when he was born and that is what has left him so severely disabled.

"Doctors said he wouldn't live to see one but he is making progress all the time and I really believe that's due to the staff in the nursery class.

"Kai cannot deal with change and his teachers have come to understand his body language, which is how he communicates.

"I don't want to see him going backwards but I don't feel I am being listened to."

Broomlea nursery class, in Possil, is closing because there are not enough additional needs children to fill the class.

Kai will be moved into a Broomlea Primary class while his nursery classmate, who is younger, will go to a different nursery before being moved back to Broomlea Primary for P1.

Donna and Kai's father Thomas Thompson said the teachers they have worked with for the past two years have been a huge help to them.

The couple also have a two-year-old daughter, Ava, and are kinship carers for Donna's 15-year-old niece.

While Thomas works, Donna is full-time carer for Kai, who needs special feeding and constant care.

Donna said: "We used to have a physiotherapist for Kai and that was cut, we had a speech therapist and that was cut. We feel like the services are being decreased and decreased and we are being left more on our own.

"The closure of the nursery class is another kick. I wasn't even told officially - one of the teachers just mentioned it.

"One of Kai's support staff went off on maternity leave and it took the replacement about six months to learn to cope with his feeding as it is specialised.

"We don't want Kai to have to start again at this new school."

Last October parents from Broomlea, Langlands and Howford schools attacked Glasgow City Council for removing experienced support staff.

They hit out after qualified instructors trained to support pupils with severe visual, hearing and communication difficulties were cut from a number of special schools in the primary sector. Staff were taken out of the three primaries and moved to secondary schools.

Donna added: "I feel the disabled are discriminated against.

"I would love Broomlea Early Years to stay open but I know that's not going to happen.

"I would love his teachers to be able to move with him but I know that won't happen either.

"I just want people to know what it is like when budgets are cut and schools are cut.

"We want the best for our kids and we need to fight for them."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "Kai will be going into P2 and will continue to attend Broomlea Primary School learning alongside his peers."

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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