Teaching Individuals with Disability

Topics: Special education, Resource room, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Pages: 6 (2161 words) Published: July 31, 2013
Background to the Study
There is growing concern about increasing number of youth and children with special needs in our communities in Ghana today, who like any other children, must have the opportunity to go to school. The term special needs or children with special needs refers to individual learners whose needs arise from physical, emotional, sensory, behavioural and intellectual conditions that have a long-term adverse effect on their ability to access the regular education facilities. This includes individuals with various disabilities such the mentally retarded, the hearing and visually impaired, and the learning disabled individuals. In the olden days, children with special needs had their education mainly in the few segregated special schools spread across the country. However, owing to the fast growing number of individuals with disability, it is now common to find a good number of them in the regular schools in the various communities. The result was that educationists began exploring various educational arrangements including mainstreaming, integration and inclusion that could bring together both disabled and non-disabled individuals in the same classroom to pursue the same school curriculum. Inclusive education is a concept that allows pupils with special needs to be placed in the regular or mainstream classes to be taught by mainstream teachers. Inclusion, which is the most current perspective in education, is the combination of pupils with and without disabilities in one classroom. Thus pupils with special needs are placed in regular classes and are taught by a general class teacher. This is based on the assumption that children of all abilities can learn from each other given the appropriate environment, and that children who learn together learn to live together. This programme provides special educational service to a heterogeneous group of pupils with mild retardation, pupils with autistic tendencies and pupils with multiple disabilities. Placement into special needs programmes is decided based on severity and the special needs categorizations, namely visual, hearing and learning disabilities. Pupils with severe visual or hearing impairments and those with severe intellectual disabilities are placed in special schools (segregated schools) while those pupils with mild to moderate disabilities are placed in the integration or inclusive programme in the mainstream schools. Pupils with learning disabilities are always placed in the integration programme in the mainstream schools. The inclusive programme in Ghana has been conducted in regular classes as a part of a service continuum for pupils with special needs. In line with UNESCO’s declaration of Education for All (EFA), this programme aims at encouraging interaction between pupils with special needs and the mainstream pupils. Human beings, regardless of whether they have a disability, have basic needs that must be met in order to feel fulfilled. A sense of belonging, being loved, having relationships and friendships with others enriches our lives. Feelings of loneliness and alienation can have a negative impact in all areas of our lives. Education helps meet the need to learn and grow and not remain stagnant, but as with any of our needs, if we focus on one at the expense of the others it does not maximize the overall quality of life. When all needs are met in an integrated way, each area adds strength in the ability to achieve fulfillment in the other areas. Inclusion is about meeting all those needs, and maximizing a person's overall quality of life rather than promoting segregated education. One of the greatest contradictions of the regular classroom teacher about special needs children is that, the teacher most often gives much of his time to the “so-called normal” children. However, these children have some potentials in them which when effectively...
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