Speech pathologist: Bill 101 hurts special needs kids

PHOTO: www.medicmagic.net

A speech-language pathologist says she is sick of seeing special needs kids running into bureaucratic obstacles when they try to get special dispensation to go to English school.  

Under Bill 101 children must attend French school in Quebec unless their parents attended an English school in Canada.

There are exemptions for children with autism or learning difficulties but Lynda Wicki, who has been working as a speech-language pathologist in Quebec for 30 years, says they are not often applied or approved.

Wicki has been working with a child whose mother is Filipino and father is French.

She says six medical professionals wrote to the education ministry asking that the child attend English school, but the government refused them.

“They are getting therapy, one on one therapy, for hours and hours and we are making strong recommendations and then the government says no,” Wicki said.

She says she sees a few cases like this every year.

“How dare the government institution, based on paper, say they know better for your child?”

Wicki says the decision can be appealed but she feels the government is making it too difficult for parents and it will impact the child’s development.

“They can’t keep up with their peers, there’s a huge social implication, and any behavioral problems are going to exacerbate because they are frustrated because they can not follow along in French.”

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  1. JBJ posted on 05/16/2014 11:22 AM
    It goes beyond being able to attend English school. The graduation requirements also prevent many capable students from achieving their high school leaving certificate, even if they are taught in the language of their choice. Many students on the autism spectrum have difficulties speaking their native language, and many have speech delays. Learning a second language is akin to impossible for some of these students. The current setup forces a student to pass grade 11 French and a government exam. There are students who can achieve high grades in all subjects (math, history, sciences, even English literature) but cannot graduate and go on to CEGEP because of an inability to pass French. The entire system is detrimental to these students even though many of them have the potential (and desire) to become doctors, research scientists, engineers, and so on.
  2. nic coinnich posted on 05/16/2014 12:09 PM
    I know of one family that left the province because of a situation like that . Fortunately the husband was able to get a transfer . They are now paying taxes to Ontario .Way to go Quebec !
  3. Norman Simon posted on 05/16/2014 12:09 PM
    “How dare the government institution, based on paper, say they know better for your child?” says speech pathologist Lynda Wicki.

    But whether your child is autistic, has learning disabilities or is normal, haven't I been saying this since Bill 101 was legislated?
    It is the parent who must always have the right to choose their child's language of education, certainly NOT the government! Guaranteed, if parents in Quebec had the choice, most would opt for a bilingual education. And that is what is so sadly lacking in this great province.

    Norman Simon, Canadians for Coexistence
  4. Genevieve posted on 05/16/2014 12:42 PM
    I have one Autistic son and one son with a Learning Disability and although they are in an "english" school - there really are no such things as english schools in Quebec. It is bilingual.

    Well, I'm sorry but two languages is just not realistic for many of these kids. How about we focus on just one language and let them feel a bit of success in one language rather than failure in both.

    We are moving to Ontario on June 5th for exactly this reasons. My boys are suffering because they are forced to learn two languages. My third son has no disabilities and will continue with french immersion in Ontario (I fully support bilingualism) but my two others will be in english core.
  5. Smith posted on 05/16/2014 04:29 PM
    Disgusting on the part of the government
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