12 Feb 2015

Special education help needed in American Samoa

3:09 pm on 12 February 2015

An American Samoa lawmaker says more must be done to ensure children with special education needs have long term professional help.

90 percent of the more than 6 million US dollar special education division's budget is spent on personnel.

However, a special education official says they are unable to hire full time professionals, and a major cost for the department is hiring overseas specialists on short term contracts.

A member of the House of Representatives, Larry Sanitoa, says several parents have voiced serious concerns about the quality of service that the special education department is providing.

He says long term contracts for special education professionals need to be pursued so the children's needs are better understood and met.

"I would think that by making every effort to have people here on a long term contract, whether it's two or three or four years, one would think that that's a lot better than people coming here for three months to assess the kids and then just leave."

Representative Larry Sanitoa says this would also mean the children have some continuity in their teaching.