How are Maori learners with special needs faring?

Year: 2001

Author: Bevan-Brown, Jill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Similar to many other ethnic minority groups throughout the world, Maori learners with special needs are overrepresented in Special Education. One of the briefs of the SE2000 Research was to investigate whether these Maori learners with special needs were being adequately catered for by the new policy initiatives. This question was posed to Maori parents, teachers in mainstream early childhood centres and schools and to teachers and whanau (extended family) members in kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori (total immersion early childhood centres and schools). Based on the data from this research the presenter will discuss the specific needs of Maori learners with special needs both in mainstream and total immersion contexts and the degree to which these needs are being met. The research showed that policy initiatives vary in their effectiveness for Maori, the least effective being the Severe Behaviour Initiative which is the area of greatest Maori representation. A variety of challenges teachers face in providing for Maori learners with special needs will be presented and some suggestions for meeting these challenges will be posed.