Paige given green light to go to school
LINDA Hartman is thrilled that her daughter Paige, who is confined to a wheelchair, will be able to go to school this year after encountering several setbacks with the education department.
Yesterday the Sunshine Coast Daily ran a story about Ms Hartman's struggle with the education department to keep her daughter at school.
Paige Nicotra is 18 years old and has a disability and in order to keep her at Currimundi Special School for another year, Ms Hartman had to submit an application through the Department of Education.
Her applications were knocked back, with the education department citing various reasons including that Paige was too old and would not likely achieve any further educational outcomes.
Desperate to fight for her daughter, Ms Hartman turned to the Sunshine Coast Daily to tell her story.
And yesterday she received a phone call from Department of Education director-general Jim Watterston, who told her some good news: that Paige could go to school this year.
"I'm feeling so excited and Paige is going to be so happy," Ms Hartman said.
Paige is confined to a wheelchair and is non-verbal, hearing impaired, is fed through a tube and has frequent seizures.
Ms Hartman said she wanted to keep fighting for her daughter because she loved school.
"She really loves it. She's in familiar surroundings she's used to, doing things with kids she knows, it's unbelievable."
The education department yesterday confirmed Paige has been granted an extra two semesters at school.
Ms Hartman said there was a severe lack of disability services for post-school age people in the Sunshine Coast region; a statement Caloundra MP and shadow health minister Mark McArdle agreed with.
He said once a child with a disability finished formal education, there were not many places for them to go.
Mr McArdle also said Ms Hartman should be congratulated for never giving up on fighting for what was best for her daughter.
He said the mother and daughter had been "to hell and back" because of the "bureaucratic nightmare"
"This comes down to Linda," he said. "This comes down to her not accepting what she was told and standing up for herself and, more importantly, for her daughter." - APN NEWSDESK