SCHOOL groups have expressed fears that some children may miss out on the state's first dedicated funding for students with disabilities.
The state government has committed $3 million for a one-year pilot program, starting next year - but while up to 1500 students may receive classroom assistance, the program is only targeted at students with IQs between 55 to 70.
Until now disability support in Tasmanian schools has been ad hoc and largely dependent on the attitude and resources of schools. No one knows exactly how many students with disabilities there are in Tasmania.
While most interest groups have welcomed the funding, announced last week by Education Minister Nick McKim, they are worried about students missing out.
Interest groups are unclear exactly what it will mean to the students, their families and schools.
Jenny Eddington, president of the former parents and friends group now known as TASSO, said she was keen to find out whether the transitional model covered just those in the gap or all children with a disability. She said that if the model covered only those students who fell in the gap, it would miss all those with an IQ above 70 who had a physical disability, as well as anyone with a mental health or behavioural issue.
``For some kids it's not about a disability but about what's happening in their own world and how they're reacting to it,'' Ms Eddington said. ``Now that doesn't mean they shouldn't have support.''
Education Union state president Terry Polglase said he hoped Mr McKim would ensure that no child was worse off under the proposed model.
He also raised concerns about the capabilities of the current number of school psychologists to identify the many students who are in the gap, at the same time as the national data collection gets under way.
Tasmanian Disability Education Reform Lobby founder Kristen Desmond wants to know exactly what the impact on students with high and additional needs would be. She is uncertain whether any of the money would go to students with an IQ above 70.
``My biggest concern is that students who are currently supported by the school resource package wouldn't get that support because that's going to be cut, and the schools would have to make that decision on what they're going to do,'' she said.
``The last thing we want to see is funding go backwards.''