Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Not if you want those of us who are uncomfortable with prolonged eye-contact to actually hear and comprehend anything the speaker is saying. Expecting “one two three, eyes on me” is ableist and disregards diverse needs. Many neurodivergent people may look around while listening and can listen with their ears.
Seriously, we need to micro-manage how someone has their hands and feet now too? I do stimminy-cricket feet, where I stim by rubbing my feet together. It’s relaxing. I can still work, read, write, pay attention, and learn, even if my feet are wiggling, so mind your business.
If I had to focus on keeping my hands still, I wouldn’t hear a thing because it would use up all of my mental energy not to fidget. Stimmy hands, fidgeting, doodling, etc. are all valid ways for a person to self-regulate and maintain their focus.
I only sit criss-cross applesauce when it is entirely awkward for me to do so, such as in a large swivelling office chair. If I were sitting on the floor there is no way I could sit criss-cross applesauce. We don’t have the right to control other people’s bodies and they can sit however they please, provided they aren’t harming anyone.
Not everyone’s ears can listen. Not surprisingly, they didn’t consider the needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students when they made those ableist “whole body listening” poster
It’s important we help children develop self-awareness, so they learn about themselves and can self-advocate and do what works best for them. Our job is to teach and allow children to make decisions about their own bodies, not try to control their bodies — that sends entirely the wrong message.
Jillian Enright, CYW, BA Psych.
MLA Wayne Ewasko, Minister of Education
Room 168, Legislative Building
Winnipeg MB R3C 0V8
March 28, 2022
Dear Mr. Ewasko,
I have written to you previously, but have yet to receive a response. As Minister of Education, I do hope you have reviewed my letters expressing concerns on behalf of students and families in Manitoba, myself included.
I write to you again to express serious concerns about budget cuts to Manitoba’s community schools. In our particular instance, budget cuts impacting Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD).
As a former educator, I am sure you understand the importance of adequate staffing and staff training in our children’s schools, especially as regard to supporting vulnerable students with exceptional needs.
In 2020, I wrote letters to your predecessor, expressing grave concerns over the lack of knowledge and training for school staff supporting neurodiverse and disabled students. In 2021, I wrote to both your predecessor and then to yourself, expressing further concerns about budget cuts to education in our province in general.
I write to you again, this time with very specific concerns.
Recently PRSD presented their budget to parents and community members. One of the items in the budget indicated that PRSD’s funding for 2022-2023 is short $357,000 for Educational Assistant (EA) support to current students, not yet considering additional students expected to enrol next year.
My son is fortunate to no longer require EA support in the classroom. However, he did need that level of support in grades one and two (2017-2019)—in part due to his neurodevelopmental disability, but also due to lack of staff understanding, knowledge, compassion, and training.
Three years ago the situation was so dire that I removed my son from PRSD, and then paid for him to attend a private school for one year. I have since supported other families, both in our division and in others, who have experienced similar distressing and traumatic situations.
Families have expressed to me that their school staff don’t understand their child’s disabilities, their child’s unique needs, nor are the schools equipped to properly support their children. School divisions cannot improve conditions for these students and their families without the resources to recruit, hire, train, and retain qualified and compassionate staff.
After my son began school in the PRSD division in 2017, things only got worse. I cannot imagine how things could possibly improve when schools barely have enough funding to retain adequate numbers of bus drivers, teachers, and custodians—let alone qualified, well-trained EAs and support staff.
As we have seen with the Covid-19 pandemic, when there is an emergency in our communities, we can come up with the funding somehow. This is an emergency for our children, students, and schools that must be addressed immediately.
These shortages will have the greatest negative impact on vulnerable children in our schools, and on neurodiverse and disabled students. It would be negligent to allow the 2022-2023 school year to proceed with the current funding models in place. Our children’s education has already been suffering for years due to previous budget cuts, schools cannot continue to scrape by and survive.
When one seeks to understand a province’s political and social priorities, one needs only to examine where they spend their government dollars. Will Manitobans accept our government placing our children’s education, and the needs of special needs students, at such a low priority?
I sincerely hope not. I look forward to your timely response.
Jillian Enright, CYW, BA Psych.
February Is Inclusive Education Month in Manitoba: Let's make this one actually count. Last year, our former Minister of Education regurgitated 15-year-old so-called “inclusion” policy, posting the above declaration on social media and nothing absolutely nothing else.
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