In Australia, all children aged six years and over are required to participate in the education system.
Children with Prader-Willi Syndrome have the right to attend mainstream government, independent or Catholic school, regardless of their level of disability. They are also able to attend a government or independent special school which you may access if the enrolment criteria is met. It is up to the family to decide which option you think is best for your child and your family.
The Australian parenting site states the following:
- Children with disability have the same rights to education as all other children. They can go to mainstream government, independent or Catholic schools.
- Education rights are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005).
- The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports that enable your child with disability to go to school.
If you choose to send your child to your local primary school it is very important that you meet with the Principal prior to enrolment to discuss the different supports your child will need. The Principal will be able to explain the process for accessing the Program for Disability Support and let you know what information is required to support the application for support funding
It is important to note that Special schools have eligibility criteria that your child must meet before they can enrol. To find out whether your child is eligible to go to a special school, it’s best to contact any schools you’re interested in.
More information regarding schooling for children with a disability can be found on the Australian parenting website.
At times children with Prader-Willi Syndrome will face challenges in the school environment. This could be in relation to a change in environment (transitioning to school), monitoring food, or creating effective relationships with peers and teachers. It is essential to ensure an appropriate and effective learning environment is provided. Regular communication between the school and the family is essential to the achievement of successful learning outcomes.
The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Victoria is available to provide education to the school and assist you in navigating the enrolment process.
When cognitive testing is performed, some children score within normal range in (borderline to low average), but most children with Prader-Willi Syndrome will have mild to moderate intellectual disability. Regardless of intellectual ability, all children experience some learning difficulties. In spite of this, students with Prader-Willi Syndrome usually hard-working, enthusiastic learners who are keen to succeed.
All children with Prader-Willi Syndrome will require some level of additional support at school. The Victorian government is committed to delivering an inclusive education system that ensures students with Prader-Willi Syndrome have access to quality education that meets their needs. Furth information can be found on the Victorian State Government website.
There are many misconceptions about Prader-Willi Syndrome, much of this fuelled by obsolete information found on the internet. It is important to advocate for your child and break down any barriers with educators and school professionals prior to the school year starting.There is some great information available on the Global Genes website that will assist you in breaking down those barriers and ensure a smooth transition for educators into the world of Prader-Willi Syndrome.