– Femy Charles
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach,
maybe we should teach the way they learn”
– Ignacio Estrada
I want to start with the story of ‘Adhiambo’ from Kenya, who became physically disabled at a younger age because of polio. After an episode of sexual violence which led to her becoming a parent at a young age, she moved to her aunt’s house. Unfortunately, her aunt couldn’t support her education and that is when the DFID (department of international development) stepped in and helped her to go to school. Today Adhiambo has made a lot of progress with the help of her teacher Madam Risper and she dreams of becoming a tailor and opening a shop.
‘EDUCATION GAVE HER HOPE’
This can be applied to everyone’s lives. Children with disabilities often face isolation and exclusion because their needs and requirements are different, but their disabilities do not define them, for if given proper nourishment they can also bloom into beautiful flowers and the key to this is Education.
Education brings empowerment and stability in one’s life and the same can be said for special students, with proper education they can learn to transform their weaknesses into strengths, make progress and fulfill their dreams and aspirations. Access to quality education that enables children to bring out the best in them, is every child’s basic right. The only difference is that the approach towards special students needs to be a little different, in other words, it needs to be a little special!
The most important aspect is awareness, both among tutors and parents. Many times, children with any form of disability don’t have access to any form of education because, of less awareness or lack of resources. Parents should allow and push their children so that, with proper guidance and learning they can develop and learn. Tutors must be supportive and patient with such kids as they may take more time to learn. They must come up with unique strategies to teach them.
Education can help these kids to promote self-growth and self-development by overcoming their disadvantages and exploring their strengths, which will help them to march forward towards their goals with confidence and resilience.
Another important aspect is inclusion, to make these kids feel wanted and accepted irrespective of their disabilities. Adhiambo while describing her joy said “For the first time, I felt like there was somebody to whom I was an interest […] who took time to ask about my welfare and, who would go out of their way to give me things I had never been given”
We have many Adhiambos around us with different disabilities be it ADHD, down syndrome, physical disabilities, autism, etc. They all need our help and support to grow and bloom. Children with disabilities just like all other children have the right, to access good quality education that can help them to bring out the best in them. Today fortunately we have many schools and social movements that promote special education and encourage parents to send their kids to school to help them grow.
I would like to end with a quote from David Vitter
“I continue to believe if children are given necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams”