Amendment to benefit thousands of disabled students

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 09, 2013 - Page 3

An amendment to the Special Education Act (特殊教育法) that was passed in the legislature yesterday will promote educational equality and benefit 115,000 students with disabilities across the country, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.

The amendment legalizes the employment of assistants at schools for the disabled at or under high-school level and authorizes schools to establish special units to offer individual support plan for students with different types of disabilities, Cheng said.

Cheng said the amendment is expected to ensure professional assistance from the schools for disabled students, which was not the case during the past three years since the act came into force in 2009.

About 85 percent of disabled students attended “ordinary schools” where they do not receive fair treatment and assistance in daily life, including transportation, meals, Internet access and the use of restrooms, she said, adding that students with hearing and visual disabilities lacked books in Braille, reading assistance and accommodation, making life more difficult for them in school.

With the amendment lowering the minimum age of pre-school special education to two years old and providing the legal basis for schools to establish special units to assist disabled students, including those in schools or home-schooling students, Cheng said disabled students could enjoy a fair and friendly education environment.

However, the Ministry of Education will be responsible for monitoring schools nationwide to ensure they implement the measures in accordance with the law, she said.