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War on individual teaching

The Ministry of Education is shutting down the possibility of individual teaching at school. Parents of children on the autism spectrum across Poland are protesting. And the Ministry does not seem to understand the problem. We appeal to officials - start talking.

Individual teaching is designed for students whose medical condition does not allow them to attend school. For many years, individual teaching was only possible at home. However, some institutions allowed - unofficially, as it were - for a child to come to school for his individual classes. This allowed children to at least partially participate in the lives of their peers. And teachers were relieved of the unpleasant obligation to commute, sometimes to distant places, to the student's home. A few years ago, such a possibility was officially enshrined in the regulation on individual teaching. The solution worked and everyone was happy with it. Now the Ministry is removing the possibility of individual teaching at school from the regulation. For our children, this is not a good change.

- Children with autism and Asperger's Syndrome have great difficulty functioning in a group of peers, especially in mass and integrated schools. They are often victims of violence and bullying. They have crises and breakdowns. For them, the possibility of individualized education at school was a savior. It allowed for partial normality, gradual integration into school life and a return to the group. Condemning them to isolation at home is a tragedy for them and their parents," says Tomasz Michalowicz, president of the JiM Foundation.

The children do not yet understand what the change means. But their parents are outraged.

- Lack of contact with peers, inability to participate in at least some lessons with the class, condemns children to banishment, rejection and loneliness. I am faced with a choice: either my children will fail socially or educationally. I am deeply outraged by the decision of the Ministry of Education to change individual teaching. - Comments Catherine, mother of two sons on the autism spectrum.

The Ministry of Education stresses that all children should go to school. And individual teaching is a necessity. It also points out that it is done at the request of the parent.

- From Warsaw, from a dark building on Szucha Avenue, you cannot see our children and the whole spectrum of their problems. You can't see that in the event of a crisis, a child with autism needs to be withdrawn from the group. But not necessarily immediately condemn them to loneliness at home. The Ministry probably has good intentions and doesn't even understand the whole conflict. And it would be enough to invite the parents and talk to them," says Tomasz Michalowicz.

Therefore, let's appeal to Ministry officials. Start talking.

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