top of page

(New Zealand) Schools trying to deal with students who are 'wired differently'

Nov 14, 2018, NZ Herald: Struggling to learn: 'It's like coming out of the fog, you can see each child clearly' The final part of our three-part series on children who are "wired differently" asks: How can we do better?... "The school has gone through autism training with someone who came in from Pukekohe. I think three teachers, the principal and I think even the office lady all did it. They have gone above and beyond." Pembroke School, "a tiny little school out under the mountain" with just 84 students, seemed to be a model of how schools could do better for students with autism, like Massōne, or with dyslexia, ADHD and other things that mean their brains are wired differently from most children. Principal Junior Etuale Togia said the school tried to "embrace the individual", using different ways of teaching for different students rather than adopting a blanket approach. "For our dyslexic learners as well, they struggle with the reading/writing side but place a lot of emphasis on the visual when it comes to learning," he said. "When we are giving oral instruction, we back it up with visual instruction."… Togia said Pembroke School understood that Massōne's meltdowns were triggered by things like sounds, smells, too much language on the whiteboard or just not knowing what's happening next…. Last week Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a more significant change, agreeing to fund 600 "learning support coordinators" from 2020, lifting the learning support spending by about $50 million a year or 7 per cent. Tracey Martin has a draft plan to screen all children for learning differences and provide "flexible support packages" for them. Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin, who has responsibility for learning support, had already published a draft plan to fund at least part-time learning support co-ordinators in all 2500 schools, although noting that this "will require a funding decision". Her plan also includes: • Screening all children between ages 6 and 8 for dyslexia (reading problems), dyspraxia (clumsy movement) and giftedness. • A "central data collection process" for children with special learning needs so that information goes with them when they change schools. • "Flexible support packages" for students with learning differences who don't qualify for ORS funding. …

bottom of page