Some children on Prince Edward Island are at a disadvantage when it comes to disability assessment and the province needs to step in to help, according to the Opposition’s education critic.

Olive Crane said she wants the province to end the two-tiered system facing students who need assessments by educational psychologists.

CBC reported, earlier this week, the number of educational psychologists working in English language schools this year has been cut in half because of people on leave.

 

Cynthia Fleet, superintendent of the English Language School Board, said young students possibly struggling with learning disabilities are already having to wait two to three years to see a school psychologist.

Because of those delays, some parents said they’ve been paying for private assessments, at an average cost of $2,000.

Crane said early diagnosis is critical for students with learning disabilities.

She said leaving families without assessments until a child has been in school for years puts families and students at a distinct disadvantage, unless they are fortunate enough to be able to pay for a private assessment.

The school board said attempts to recruit replacement psychologists have been unsuccessful so far.

Crane said the governing Liberal Party has to come up with new recruitment ideas, but until then, she said the government should authorize the use of private sector psychologists to help fill the gap.

Five of the school board's educational psychologists are on leave this year.

For mobile device users: Should the province call in private sector psychologists to reduce learning disability assessment wait times?