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Trinidad and Tobago: Over 7,000 students have "special needs"

June 14, 2023, Over 7000 students with special needs, Minister reveals
A total of 7,773 students in this country have been diagnosed with some sort of disability or have been identified as having varying levels of special needs.
The majority of them are from primary schools.

This was revealed by Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly in the Senate on Tuesday. She explained that the figures quoted were from the period January 2018 to April 2023.

She detailed that such students included those at the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), primary and secondary school levels.

However, not all of them were receiving treatment.

The issue was raised by Independent Senator Paul Richards who enquired about children who had been referred to the Student Support Services Division for that particular period.

Paul also asked how many children were diagnosed, the categories of special needs and disabilities, what treatment was recommended and how many children had in fact, received treatment.

According Gadsby-Dolly revealed that the bulk of diagnoses came from pupils at the primary level which was 5,816.

Regarding intervention, the education minister said measures included targeted classroom support by the student aide, special education instructors and alternative strategies to parents and classroom teachers as required.

She also noted that from the academic year 2019/2019 to the period September 2022-April 2023, 4,501 students received treatment.

Gadsby-Dolly also detailed the disabilities and special needs which were ranged from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to borderline intellectual functioning to intellectual disability.

Other ailments health problems like hearing, visual and speech impairment.

Some students were also diagnosed with as well as emotional/behavioural disorders.


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