Discrimination begins at school

Child psychiatrist Christina Kalyva believes that family pressure in combination with a system that does not recognize individual skills is to blame. Children are classified as special-needs cases when they are not and are placed in separate classes that serve as a dumping ground for children with difficulties. Migrant children are put in with children that have ADHD, for instance. This marginalization will last for the rest of a child’s life. It is once a child gets to school though that disorders can be detected. Parents who have not realized earlier that their child has problems often notice it then. Often they discover that their child has learning disabilities that are the result of going to school. Kalomiris explains: «We ask children to produce arguments in the second grade of primary school without knowing if they have been prepared for this. Language difficulties will emerge at preschool age when the child has contact with writing.» The child will probably also have to deal with exclusion by his peers and even the parents. Specialist staff members in schools are necessary but these are not the only shortages in Greek schools, which place the burden on specialist staff in state or private organizations. Everyone has to be made aware but it is up to the state to provide solutions. Papaconstantinou believes Attica should be divided into departments and a psychology health center be created in each department for children, adolescents and adults.