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Turner: Ministry's attitude short sighted

Turner: Ministry's ‘kids will cope’ mentality short-sighted

A Health Ministry claim that children with close-up vision problems adjust their reading methods to cope is utterly unacceptable, United Future’s Judy Turner said today in further pushing for an inquiry into the school vision-testing programme.

Mrs Turner last week revealed that 40 percent of the students at a Wanganui school were found by an optometrist to require glasses despite having passed the school testing programme. She has lodged a bid for a health select committe inquiry into the programme.

“I find the comments that children will somehow adjust absolutely appalling,” she said.

“And the girl with the lisp - she’ll get by too? No point wasting speech therapy on her. And the young fellow with a limp out in the playground - well he’s fairly mobile and can make the best of it.

“I’m sorry, but that mentality is ridiculous,” Mrs Turner, United Future’s health spokeswoman, said.

“Parents and teachers believe this is a programme that gives a clean bill of visual health and it doesn’t.

“If we’re going to have a programme, then let’s make sure it is a comprehensive one.

“As it stands, it tests for about 10 percent of the possible sight problems children can have and gives an utterly false sense of security, both from a health and education perspective.

"Every day vision problems aren't picked up is a day that a child's education is compromised - not to mention their health.

“Our kids deserve better than this,” Mrs Turner said.

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