An early intervention specialist believes the number of students excluded from schools is higher than official statistics. The Ministry of Education says it is working with 171 students who have been officially excluded from school as at the start of July. Frian Wadia is an early intervention specialist with Autism New Zealand, a board member of the Parent to Parent advocacy group and is mum to three differently-abled children.
She believes the exclusion figures fail to take into account the myriad ways schools can ask parents to keep their child at home - and in some cases, families are being bullied into thinking they have no power to challenge those decisions. Meanwhile, demand from teachers for neurodiversity workshops delivered by the organisation Mind Over Manner, have risen 400 per cent, and the complexity of needs within classrooms grow. Frian and Susan Haldane, founder of Mind Over Manner, join Kathryn.