Speech therapists concerned about effects of M Decree

Summary

The Flemish Association for Speech Therapists has requested that its members become part of primary education support teams in order to help children mainstreamed into regular education due to the new M Decree

Mainstreaming pupils

The Flemish Association for Speech Therapists (VVL ) has requested a working relationship with the pupil support agencies (CLBs) at primary schools when the M Decree takes effect this autumn. According to VVL, problems with reading and writing will otherwise become financially unmanageable.

The M Decree will mainstream many children currently in special education into regular education. “Children with a slight mental disability or with serious reading and writing problems are referred to speech therapists in the private sector,” said VVL spokesperson Piet Ceuppens. Speech therapists help not only with spoken language problems but also reading and writing issues, such as dyslexia.

Ceuppens pointed out that parents of children with reading and writing problems would have to pay remgeld, the out-of-pocket contribution for medical services. Health insurers will cover the remainder of the cost. But parents of children with a mental disability would have to pay the complete costs of speech therapy.

The VVL also said that it is concerned that medical insurance agency Riziv is not prepared for the growing number of parents that will apply for refunds. To avoid financial problems and enable children to better integrate, the VVL would like to see speech therapists become part of CLB teams at primary schools.

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.
1

million school-going children in 2013

30

million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013

11

percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma