A MOTHER is fighting for her 18-year-old daughter, who has a disability, to stay in school despite being told by the Education Department that her daughter is too old and will not achieve anything more in the classroom.

Paige Nicotra is 18-years-old and is confined to a wheelchair.

She is non-verbal and is visually impaired, is fed through a tube and suffers seizures constantly.

She was granted permission to stay at Currimundi Special School for an extra year in 2015 but her mother Linda Hartman had to submit an application through the Department of Education to keep Paige at school this year.

LACK OF SERVICES: Linda Hartman with daughter Paige.
LACK OF SERVICES: Linda Hartman with daughter Paige. Warren Lynam

"You know when your kids are happy … she flaps in the wind when she's happy," she said.

Ms Hartman said the Education Department rejected her various applications, citing Paige's age, impact on departmental resources, absent days and other reasons.

The department could not be contacted for comment.

Ms Hartman said the department also noted that Paige had achieved a Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement and that there were no other educational outcomes she could accomplish. This devastated Ms Hartman.

"In bringing that up, (they're saying) she has achieved the most she will ever achieve," she said.

A frustrated Ms Hartman said she knew students with a disability over 18 years old who had stayed at school in the past. She said there was a severe lack of services for post-school-aged children with a disability on the Sunshine Coast, especially Paige who required around-the-clock care.

"What am I supposed to do?" Ms Hartman said, holding back tears. "There's nothing for our sort of kids on the Sunshine Coast."

- APN NEWSDESK


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