How Accommodative is the Education System to 'Slow Learners'?

So on Sunday while in the church compound I bump into an old friend of mine who is a mother to an autistic child. After the pleasantries, I ask her about her child and she tells me she moved the boy to a vocational training institute here in my home town because the boy wasn't good academic wise. The statement made me sad. Not because what the mother had done was wrong but because the potential of the boy will never be realised after the change of schooling method and environment. The conversation led me to think of such cases in society and country in general. Autism does not mean a child can't study it only means the child needs special care for them to perform. Which begs the question, are teachers in school equipped to handle such developmental disabilities? How easy is it to integrate such children In a normal school curriculum? Does the examination system take into consideration such cases? Apart from written exams, have they ever considered oral exams for such children and other children who's disabilities cause a problem with writing?

Is there government support to school going children with developmental disabilities?

It might be interesting to note that given the right support, most children with autism can 'outperform' children who are thought to be 'normal' without any kind of disabilities. Cases in point is a host of famous people who made the world how we know it today. Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla are just some of the names that achieved extraordinary success despite having autism.

How should the school system adapt to accommodate children with autism and other developmental disabilities? Let me hear your opinions

Best Answers

  • NgureDenisNgureDenis ✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    These are pertinent questions @BKiwu.

    Education for All is SGD 4 - “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

    There is a policy document in the works on education in relation to learners with disabilities. More public participation and awareness rising is neccessary for inclusion.

  • nyakiandanyakianda ✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    It's not very accommodative but I believe this is work in progress since last year.

  • JohnJohn
    Accepted Answer

    Good questions up there!

    Autism is a spectrum of disorders and the term spectrum means it affects each individual differently. Some individuals have mild to moderate to severe autism.

    To start with, the public sector education system is not elaborately equipped to handle most developmental disabilities. Very few special needs education teachers has been employed in public schools. Like wise only less than 0.5 % of public schools have been resourced with infrastructure to support special education, for instance therapy centres, which are integral ingredients in special needs education.

    One of the traits of persons with autism is that they are considered Savant (highly gifted in one area while deficient in other areas). The challenge there becomes to determine the area where the child is gifted in so as to nurture and develop their talents. Some children especially those with mild to moderate autism can excel in academics with the right support while others will tend to do very well in hands-on skills. Having in mind that autistic children does well with routines, this there for means that those children who take the route of vocational training could do so much well if they specialize on training on a single vocation. They tend to master the skill and register it in their photographic memory.

    When it comes to local curricula, rigidity is all they know about. Talk of exam time with either CBC or National Curriculum (844 system), every child is treated the same, no special recognition of learners with disabilities. Take for example international curricula like the British IGCSE which allows special needs candidates to apply for special access arrangements during examinations. For instance a candidate who has dyslexia (reading & comprehension disability) is allowed the services of an interpreter during exams. A child with dyscalculia (arithmetic disability) is allowed extra additional exam time over and above what other regular candidates get.

    This is what real inclusivity is about in the education sector besides supporting these learners in classroom learning.

    In Kenya we still have so much work to do given that in regard to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, education is a right for every child.

    Thank you!

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