Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's position
As told by Maggie Wagner to 5 minutes this week –
The Association has been fighting for its survival since the arrival of a letter from the Ministry of Education announced the end of state subsidies in September 2016.
In the balance is the future of many children with physical and intellectual disabilities who have been are supported by the Association since 2001. Children who since then have followed a Conductive Education programme, a system established since the forties and specially tailored to their needs.
Maggie Wagner, President of the Association and a basic-skills teacher, knows the difference between conventional education and Conductive Education. And because her daughter is disabled and has benefited from conductive pedagogy.
She explained that the her daughter's disability has been very difficult to manage. As a general rule, 'a mental disability always implies a motor disability. What people do not know is that automatically a disability always seriously signifies a global disability'.
While his daughter was only three years old, Maggie decided to leave for Budapest and discovered Conductive Education, the Pető pedagogy. This was 'the first glimmer of hope', she remembers.
Today her daughter is an adult and 'can express herseld in three languages and has the intellectual equivalent of a 15-year-old girl.' Progress that she would never have dared dream of at the time when her daughter was still a child. 'Stagnation is horrible for the parents of a severely disabled child.'
Since then Maggy Wagner has continued to work to improve the lives of disabled children and their families. A journey, a course, strewn with certain pitfalls, but one that would lead to creation of the association Schrëtt fir Schrëtt. To understand how far Schrëtt fir Schrëtt has come, it is necessary to sketch a little history.
In 2001, an agreement was born between the Association and the Ministry of Education. for a state grant that would allow it to meet the needs of disabled children. A step in the right direction.
Promises and then... nothing more
In 2002, Delvaux, the Minister at the time, made a promise that she would be unable to keep. The Association would be able to gain the status of private school. What follows seems to like a bad joke. What happened was that an article of law was passed in 2003 that would prohibit a differentiated education and therefore the project of a private school for these children.
At this stage, alternatives are still being examined and a project was born: Schrëtt fir Schrëtt could be grafted on to the Cerebral Palsy Institute. Many meetings followed one another and the project gradually faded away until a recent letter from the Ministry of Education arrived to announce the end of state subsidies in September 2016, which corresponds to the next school year.
Concretely, what does this mean for the children followed by the Association? In theory, this would mean that as of September these children would be tranferred into the public system. For Maggy, however, '...this is not an alternative. These are children who cannot be integrated due to their serious disability.' To transfer them into ordinary classrooms, that would be a little like bringing back 'Close the door on them, then that's fine.'
Since then Maggy Wagner and her Association have been fighting tooth and nail to challenge this decision. A petition was launched on Facebook and has already collected more than 3,000 signatures, the target figure being 4,500 to trigger a legislative debate. About two and a half weeks are left for the Association to reach this figure, but Maggy is optimistic.
The least that one can say is that time is running out for them. If you want to know more about this subject, you can find out more on the Association's Facebook page.
You can also see the petition filed by the Association in the Chamber of Deputies.Previous posting on this conflict
Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's website and Facebook
– (2016) 'On n'arrêtera pas de se battre, 18 February, 5 minutes.rtl.lu