SP authorizes private assistant for students with disabilities – 04/03/2024 – Education

SP authorizes private assistant for students with disabilities – 04/03/2024 – Education


Governor Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) published a decree this Wednesday (3) authorizing students with disabilities to have, if their families wish, the assistance of an extra attendant within state schools in São Paulo. The rule provides that families will be responsible for carrying out this function or paying for professionals.

“The personal attendant will be able to assist or provide basic and essential care to students with disabilities in their daily school life. This attendant will have their work fully paid for by the student’s legal representative”, says the text.

The decree was published one day after the celebration of World Autism Awareness Day.

Experts consulted by Sheet point out that the governor’s decree violates the LBI (Brazilian Inclusion Law), of 2015, which states that it is the state’s responsibility to “ensure the necessary conditions for full access, participation and learning for students with disabilities”.

They also argue that the measure does not contribute to the inclusion of students in the school environment, in addition to having the potential to further accentuate inequalities among poor students, in which families will not be able to pay the professional or cannot leave their job to go the day at school.

In a statement, the Tarcísio administration stated that the decree seeks to meet a demand from families who required a specialized companion for children with certain disabilities and disorders.

According to the State Department of Education, students will continue to be served by AEE (Specialized Educational Assistance) teachers hired by the state and can receive extra help offered by their parents.

Signed by the governor, the decree also defines that the personal attendant will be able to assist students diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), Pervasive Developmental Disorder and multiple disabilities associated with the three previous conditions.

Students with physical or motor disabilities, for example, are not entitled to assistance from a personal attendant.

For Deigles Amaro, specialist in educational management at Instituto Rodrigo Mendes, an NGO that works in inclusive education, the decree transfers the state government’s responsibility for ensuring adequate conditions for the inclusion of all students to families of children and young people with disabilities.

“It is essential to consider that, in the Brazilian reality, families do not have the financial resources to cover this cost”, he says.

It also highlights the possible negative repercussions that can occur with allowing unqualified people to work within the school. According to the decree, the personal attendant must have the “necessary skills to assist” the student, without specifying what they are.

The text also says that the attendant will not be able to “exercise pedagogical activities nor interfere in the functions performed by state education employees”.

“Since the support professional, in this case of the decree, is a person external to the school’s professional body, it is not possible to manage his action for the purposes for which the support services are intended. And this can negatively interfere with relationships in favor of the student development and learning”, says Deigles.

Taiza Stumpp, professor and researcher at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo) who coordinates a study group on autism and the university’s Mental Health Observatory, says that the new decree “sparks an alert”.

“While researchers, families and people with autism mobilize to study, understand and promote awareness about autism, this movement is going in the opposite direction,” she said.

For her, the new standard “may cause a distortion in the way we understand our social and political commitment to inclusion and education.” “These actions, in order to truly promote inclusion, need to be careful and accompanied by teacher training and public awareness.”

She also says that the government did not comply with a previous state government decree, from April 2023, which provides for the expansion of specialized educational assistance and the provision of services that promote inclusion in regular education classrooms, among other forms of support.

State deputy Andréa Werner (PSB), who is autistic and mother of an autistic teenager, saw the decree as progress. In March, the blog Vidas Atípicas, from Sheetnarrated the deputy’s struggle to get her son’s state school to allow the entry of a personal companion or to offer him a companion to perform a pedagogical role in the classroom — which she achieved in court.

“We have received dozens of reports from atypical mothers in our office who tell us about children prevented from accessing the school environment in the city and State of São Paulo using a personal companion”, he stated.

She argues that the personal or therapeutic companion does not replace any professional that is present in the Brazilian Inclusion Law (2015), or even in the Berenice Piana Law (2012).

“He is an additional professional, and the decree makes it clear that his presence does not replace the professionals provided for by law. Therefore, if the student has a higher level of support and requires full personal support, in addition to school professionals, he or she may take your own companion.”

The deputy adds that this cannot be a condition for the student to attend school.

Read the full note from the São Paulo Department of Education below:

“The Department of Education clarifies that the decree does not exclude school support professionals who assist with food, hygiene and mobility for students with disabilities in the São Paulo state network. The determination only allows personal attendants to also accompany the student in the school environment , if it is in the interest of each family. The personal attendant can be a family member of the student or a professional hired by the family. He or she can offer basic care to the student with a disability in their daily life at school.

The Brazilian Law on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities defines that the public authorities must ensure the work of school support professionals to guarantee the right to education, which is fulfilled by the Department of Education. In response to demands from the school community, the department authorized access for personal attendants, not provided for in the educational scope, to teaching units, but without interference in pedagogical activities. It is worth mentioning that additional rules to the decree will be published by the São Paulo State Department of Education (Seduc-SP) this semester.

All students eligible for special education are evaluated to identify the support, resources and complementary services necessary for the school routine, including material, furniture, structure, pedagogical and technology resources.

Furthermore, the state network has teachers from the Collaborative Teaching project, who are present in all schools and coordinate special education activities. In addition to regular classes, eligible students have after-school access to the Resource Rooms, with the guidance of specialized teachers.”


Source link