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Developing countries who suffer from some sort of disability

According to a WHO report, there is about 10% of the population of developing countries suffer from some sort of disability. In the light of this statement discuss the need and significance of special education of establishing liaison between the needs and resource with specific reference to the prevailing situation in Pakistan. Support your answer with examples.

Autism

  • Your child’s doctor will usually diagnose this before he turns three years old.
  •  Your child develops more slowly. He walks, talks, potty trains, or feeds himself later than other children.
  •  Your child might have trouble eating or sleeping. He might be sensitive to lights, sounds, tastes, or smells.
  •  He might appear to not hear you. He might stare off into space. He might be fascinated by things that move, like fans or wheels.
  •  He might have trouble playing with other children. He might have trouble understanding or relating to other people

Deaf-Blindness

  • Your child’s doctor will diagnose both a hearing and visual impairment.
  • Your child does not have to be totally deaf and blind.
  • For more signs, read hearing impairment and visual impairment in the chart.

Deafness – Hearing Impairment

  • Your child has trouble hearing. She does not talk or her speech is still hard to understand after she turns two years old.
  • She might be sensitive to very loud sounds. She might not hear soft sounds. Her voice might get louder when she talks.
  • She might turn up the TV or radio to hear it.
  • She might point, pull, or touch instead of talk. She might get upset or nervous in very loud places.

Emotional Disturbance

  • Your child has trouble controlling his emotions.
  • He might be aggressive. He might act out, fight, or hurt himself. He might get in trouble a lot at home and school.
  • He might be hyper. He might have a short attention span. He might act without thinking.
  • He might have trouble making friends. He might be afraid or nervous around other people.
  • He might act immaturely. He might cry a lot or throw temper tantrums.
  • He might appear unhappy or depressed most of the time. He might get headaches or tummy aches when he is really upset.

Mental Retardation

  • Your child has a low IQ, generally below 70.
  • Your child’s doctor will often diagnose this at a young age.
  • Your child cannot learn as fast or as much as other children her age.
  • She might walk, talk, dress, or feed herself later than other children.

Orthopedic Impairment

  • Your child has trouble using (or is missing) her fingers, hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Your child might need a wheelchair or other help to move around the school.

Other Health Impairment

  • Your child has medical problems that make it hard to participate in regular classroom activities.
  • Your child’s doctor must diagnose a medical problem.
  • Examples include asthma, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome.

Specific Learning Disability

  • Your child has an average or high IQ but still does not do well in school.
  • She might have problems in reading, writing, or math. She might have problems listening, talking, or thinking.
  • She might do very well or learn quickly in some subjects, but do very poorly in others.
  • She might have trouble writing down what she is thinking. She might make mistakes when she reads out loud.
  • She might have trouble following directions. She might have trouble figuring out how to start a task.

Speech Impairment

  • Your child has trouble speaking or is hard for others to understand.
  • He might not say all his letters correctly. He might mix up sounds. He might have a hard time getting out the word he is trying to say.

Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Your child’s brain has been hurt in an accident or other injury.
  • She might have trouble speaking, hearing, seeing, or thinking.
  • She might have problems remembering. She might not be able to concentrate. She might have a short attention span.
  • She might get tired easily. She might have bad mood swings.

Visual Impairment

  • Your child has trouble seeing, even with glasses or contacts.
  • He might squint while reading, watching TV, playing computer games, or playing video games. He might get headaches while doing these activities.
  • He might have some sight or be legally blind.

Multiple Disabilities    

  • Your child has more than one of the problems already listed in the chart.
  • She might have physical problems. She might have a hard time moving around the school.
  • She probably has trouble communicating with others.
  • She probably has behavior problems.
  • She might forget skills that she does not use a lot. She might have to relearn things she has already been taught.

The following types of children are presently attending the BPF’s inclusive schools:

  1. Children with learning difficulties or low intelligence (Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, Microcephaly, Hydrocephaly, Hypothyroidism with speech delay, improper speech, mild to moderate intelligence). All of them are educable or trainable.
  2. Children with Multiple disabilities (cerebral palsy having a physical disability, or with learning problems, speech difficulties, hearing problems, vision problems, etc.)
  3. Post-Polio Paresis.
  4. Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
  5. Epilepsy with mild learning difficulties.
  6. Autistic traits etc.

There is a large number of children from poor socio-economic backgrounds and they have no access to any educational program within the area. The parents are unable to meet the basic needs of their children, such as food, clothing and medical care, etc. BPF is committed to including all these children into their schools so as to make sure that no one was left out of any education program.

Having had a long experience of training and teaching children with different types of disabilities from different backgrounds, BPF is in a good position to address the needs of children with different learning needs. Children with motor, hearing, and visual impairments were readily accommodated in the classrooms by providing special aids and resources and/or removing architectural barriers. To address the learning needs of children with intellectual disabilities, the curriculum content and teaching methods had to be made flexible and specially designed according to the individual child’s needs and requirements. To remove socio-economic disparity, school uniforms were introduced. Nutritional supplements and medical treatments were provided to all the children of the schools.

According to the results obtained from the FGD with parents of disabled and non-disabled students, with teachers of “inclusive schools” and regular schools, and with non-disabled students attending ‘inclusive schools’, it was evident that inclusive schools are having a positive impact on changing the attitude of the society at large.

FGD with Parents:

The parents of the disabled children were happy to be able to send their children to mainstream schools as they felt that by this approach the barrier to “inclusion” could be eliminated. Moreover, by observing the success of their own children, they are able to start anew looking for the abilities rather than disabilities of their children more realistically.

The parents of non-disabled children although hesitant in the beginning to allow their children to go to school with the disabled children, later had their attitude changed as they found that their children were happy to mix with the disabled peers with a helping attitude.

FGD with Teachers:

The FGD with the teachers of inclusive schools revealed that there was much improvement in terms of independence, sociability as well as academic performance among both the disabled and non-disabled students. Therefore, teachers were willing to integrate not only the mildly disabled but also the severely disabled children in the mainstream schools with some individual attention. The teachers of the regular schools however were doubtful about their own capability of handling the disabled children. They demanded training prior to starting any inclusive schools. It was also revealed from the FGD with teachers of regular schools and inclusive schools that once the teachers were exposed to dealing with all the children, there was a definite change in attitude. Surprisingly the difficulties in relation to disability disappeared and the teachers started “seeing all children as children.

FGD with the Non-disabled Students:

The FGD with the non-disabled students of inclusive schools revealed that most of them expressed a positive attitude towards their disabled peers. The school system also introduced a partnership between a disabled child and a non-disabled child as a “peer partner”. The non-disabled children were happy to know about the disabled children and felt it was a learning experience for them. All of them regarded it as their duty to help as they were part of the peer groups. Besides, the non-disabled children are found to have spontaneously helped their disabled peers in the classroom. Sometimes they even took turns to help them feed or take them to the toilets, or help clean their drooling mouths with handkerchieves. The “peer partnership” was proved to be very successful.

The results of the mid-term and other class tests administered to all the children (disabled and non-disabled) revealed the satisfactory performance of both two groups of students (Table VII). Surprisingly quite a good percentage of disabled children had satisfactory and average performance. These seven inclusive schools as pilot schools should be served as an ‘eye opener’ for the government schools and schools run by NGOs. In a number of developing countries including India, children with disabilities have already been integrated into mainstream schools. In 1986, the National Policy on Education of India had included children with moderate disabilities as far as possible in the mainstream schools. In practice, children with multiple and severe disabilities have also been integrated into the UNICEF-assisted “Project Integrated Education for the Disabled” (PIED). However, prior to any such integrated school program, teachers’ training either as pre-service or in-service is highly recommended (Jangira 1995). In fact, the philosophy of “Education For All” or “Inclusive Education” implies improving the learning achievements of children through effective schools for all initiatives. The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) funded by the World Bank in India has been running effectively in most of the states that in-service training for teachers is regarded as crucial to its success (Jangira, 1995).

In Bangladesh, the Save the Children Alliance, BPF, and UNICEF have been collaborating with UNESCO in spreading awareness regarding “Inclusive Education” among educationists and policymakers. The government needs to be sensitive about this issue so that a great stride can be made if all government schools are made “schools for all”.

Last but not the least, the positive attitude of donors in this regard also makes a lot of difference. The pilot schools of BPF are funded by ‘Job Placement’ in Australia. The sharing of ideas in terms of including the excluded from education and stretching their helping hand has gone a long way in the success of this program. More such partners are welcome to take forward this ideology.

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