Educating children with special needs
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched” – Helen Keller.
A popular Malcolm X quote says that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Every child has the right to be educated, as education fosters awareness and growth in an individual so that he or she may be useful in the society at large.
With education, a person’s potential is limitless and since the human resource is one of the largest resources in the world, it becomes very imperative to get the best out of every individual, especially children.
Children are often referred to as the leaders of tomorrow, and to ensure a bright future for any nation, children must be adequately empowered – this is made possible only through qualitative and sound education.
The learning process is different for every child and special needs children require extra care and attention to aid their learning process.
Special needs are commonly defined by what a child cannot do and these include avoiding some activities, banning foods and slower developmental growth, be it physical or mental. These hindrances can affect families and may make special needs seem like an adverse situation, but parents should strive to overcome this feeling and put their best foot forward.
There are four different types of special needs children and examples include, but are not limited to:
These conditions might hinder the learning process of a child but shouldnt stop the child from learning at all. Parents of special needs kids should strive to find the best educational institution that suits the needs of their children. This is important because the first few years of a child’s life are the formative years, thus education at this stage should be as informative and fun as possible. The following tips can be considered in selecting these institutions:
Regular schools are schools that accommodate children without disabilities but have facilities that support special needs kids and a few staff members that are trained to work with special needs kids. Enrolling a child in a regular school can be beneficial to the child as he or she gets to interact with children without disabilities and other children with disabilities too.
The Centre For Children with Special Needs is a school that runs this kind of program with the aim of promoting inclusion for special needs kids. Located in Maitama, Abuja, the school offers each child quality education in a conducive environment.
However, a specialized school caters to the specific needs of the child and this usually provides the optimum avenue for learning as the child has access to facilities specially modified for them and teachers and instructors that are specially trained to interact with them. Examples of schools that run such specialized programs include Modupe Cole Memorial Childcare and Treatment Home and Pacific Hall Special School, both located in Lagos state. These schools cater to children with all types of needs running across those listed previously.
2. School evaluation
It is important to evaluate any school you are considering, parents should not rely on just online assessments and hearsay but should find time to visit the school. This is important because you get to see the facilities and interact with the teachers beforehand. Visitations should be done on a normal school day as you can see the learning process in motion and observe the disposition of teachers and instructors. Teachers with positive attitudes are fundamental to the institution because this positivity enhances good student-teacher relationships which is a key factor in the learning process of any child.
3. Be involved
When searching for schools, parents should look at schools that offer programmes that are parent inclusive. These may be physical activities or book-based ones. The goal of this is to ensure a smooth transition for the child so that they may not feel abandoned by the parent as they begin a new experience in a new environment.
4. Child’s opinion
The child’s opinion of a school is important because likeability makes learning easier. The parent should endeavour to take the child along while checking out a school and watch their reaction to the environment; whether they find the school facilities exciting, the wall colours cool or paintings and art interesting and if they feel safe. These responses should be taken into consideration before making final decisions.
Caring for a special needs child not only requires skill, it also requires a lot of finances. Therefore a parent should consider pocket-friendly options for their children. Parents can seek out scholarship programmes available for their children. Parents should not let lack of finances hinder them from seeking the best options for their children, for education costs money, and so does ignorance.
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written by Ajibade Adebanke,