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'Kids slip through the cracks': Long waitlist for education assessment frustrates Prince Albert dad


A Prince Albert father says the public school division refuses to reimburse the cost of private learning disability tests for his daughter after it was unable to provide them this year.

“We have a two-tiered education system, one for the haves and one for the have nots,” said the father of Bryan Moriarty.

“According to the Education Act, this should be covered and it’s not reasonable to expect us to wait two to three years before it gets done.”

His daughter Lillie was diagnosed with dyslexia and an auditory disability after he paid for an assessment for learning disabilities.

He says the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division (SRPSD) staff found his daughter Lillie scored low in reading and math assessments in Grade 1-3. Staff recommended more in-depth educational assessment tests to help diagnose learning disabilities but he says nothing was done.

In October of 2021, when Lillie in Grade 3 and still struggling with school work, he asked the school to do more testing.

SRPSD said it could arrange for an educational assessment but there would be a delay.

“The waiting list was two to three years before she would get an assessment done and because she wasn’t having behaviour problems, she was at the bottom of the list,” said Moriarty.

He said SRPSD staff and psychologists he spoke with said early intervention was key to his daughter’s future so he and his wife decided to pay for private testing.

“Experts said that it needed to get done sooner rather than later because it was detrimental to her education and also self-esteem and mental wellbeing.”

The cost of the educational assessment, report with recommendations and audiologist tests totalled close to $2000.

Moriarty says when he asked the SRPSD to reimburse them for the costs, the division said the testing would have been covered if the family had waited for it to be done at the school.

SRPSD told CTV News they could not comment on individual students' needs.

SRPSD Director of Education Robert Bratvold says the division has limited funding from the province and it has to allocate the money accordingly.

“We work with families to address needs and if parents choose to pursue additional resources beyond what the school division provides, the family is responsible for those resources,” said Bratvold in an emailed statement. “We understand that there are areas of our work where we wish we were able to provide more support.”

Moriarty says he’s fortunate to have the means at the time to pay for the educational assessment for his daughter but is concerned for other families and children who are encountering similar issues in school — who try their best but get poor grades without knowing why.

When asked about the matter, the Ministry of Education said the Government of Saskatchewan provides funding and school divisions have the responsibility pursuant to the Education Act to provide student assessments within their allocated budget to address the needs of their students and staff.

“We encourage the family to continue working with the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division,” said the Ministry of Education in a statement.

“This definitely lets kids slip through the cracks. In the long term, it means kids dropping out of school because they’re frustrated because they can’t learn and it ultimately impacts our society in much bigger ways,” said Moriarty.

He says he hopes SRPSD staff can adopt some of the recommended teaching methods to help his daughter through school. He says he’s frustrated by the years she struggled in school without knowing why.

He’s also joined up with advocacy group, Inclusion Saskatchewan, to help others in similar situations and promote inclusion. Top Stories

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