I have a great admiration for parents of VI Children, who have to face many decisions in relation to their child’s education and development. On reading the VI talk forum on Facebook, I get a great sense of the issues that parents face in this area.

Education is a critical starting point of all our lives; it not only shapes academic/vocational learning but it helps us to interact with others, define responsibility and learn how to make decisions and understand the world around us. I feel very much for parents who strive hard to ensure that their children get the best support, access important social and learning opportunities and make sure that their child/children have the best start in life. Their success is due to many circumstances such as supportive educational authorities and schools, positive friends and social networks and most importantly down to their own drive and determination.

Sadly, support from authorities does vary greatly across the country and many parents are left to battle hard to ensure that their children receive the most appropriate education for them.
Instances such as not being allowed to do certain sports and not participate in subjects such as cookery and art on health and safety grounds have been witnessed. This is a crying shame because in order to promote a lifelong sense of equality and in breaking down the barriers of difference, children do not want to be left out from things that their peers are taking part in.

It is times like these that can leave a long lasting impression on someone’s life. If they are told that they cannot do something at this stage then is their a point that this belief lasts with them for a long time? In breaking down barriers, schools and education providers should be at the forefront of ensuring that children do have a positive and real experience; promoting a can do rather than you cannot do approach to life.

As parents continue to strive towards ensuring their children have the best start in life, it must be the duty of the authorities who provide education to make sure that individuality is only promoted positively and that it isn’t negatively labelled as segregation on a perceived ‘cannot’ do basis.