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VIDEO: Wilson Advocates for Local Family and Pushes for Proper Programming

(November 5, 2014) Today in the Legislature, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson questioned the Government over a lack of programming for 21 year old Shane Burt, who has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. Wilson asked the Government if Shane could stay in school until proper programming for his disability is available in the community.

"Minister, Shane Burt ... due to his age, has been told he is no longer allowed to attend school," said Wilson. "In a matter of months, he has gone from having access to a walker, a stander, a bike, lifts, an exercise table and an integrated computer system allowing him to communicate in a school setting, to having none of those things."

Wilson and his colleague, MPP Christine Elliott, lobbied the government for over a year to create a select committee on developmental services to examine this exact problem. Finally, in October 2013 an all-party select committee was struck and this past July they issued their final report. In his question, Wilson reminded the Government the 46th recommendation of the report was for the inter-ministerial committee to work with families and community agencies to develop more day programming tailored to a wider range of needs.

In his supplementary, Wilson continued to push to get Shane back into school.

"As the family describes, Shane is like a six-month-old baby that understands everything," stated Wilson. "He can't walk, he can't talk, but when the proper programming is in place, he thrives. At school, he learned to float and roll over in a pool by himself. He helped serve food and dusted furniture at the local Brick store with his classmates. He had daily exercise and interaction with his peers."

"The Burt's want Shane back in school until programming in the community is available, and I don't think that's an unreasonable suggestion," continued Wilson. "In fact, a regulation under section 16 of the Education Act states, 'the committee may recommend that an exceptional pupil who is 21 years of age or older remain in a secondary school day program'."

Wilson concluded by asking the Minister to ensure that everything is done to see if Shane can return to school. The Minister committed to review Shane's case.


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