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Challenges Faced by Disabled Children in Basic Education within East London, Amathole District Municipality. Eastern Cape. Three Selected Cases From Experiences of Parents of these Children: A Support Group in East London. Locating East London. Background. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Three Selected Cases From Experiences of Parents of these Children: A Support Group in East London

  • Locating East London

  • BackgroundIn 2006-Nelson Mandela Children's Fund offered assistive devices to enable education of disabled childrenFunding channeled through REHAB (an organization for disabled people in East London) Parents meeting at REHAB led to Support Group of Parents with Disabled Children Aim: to find consolidated effort in addressing problems around education of our disabled children.

  • Selected Cases Three Disabled Children in Basic EducationOne in a mainstream schoolTwo in a Special School Resource CentreChallenges outlined similar to all parents in the support group

  • Our Plea

  • Kayla: 11 year old girl in Grade 3Presenter:Nomakhwezi Gocina - Parent of a disabled child and coordinator of a Parent Support Group for Parents with Disabled Children in East London

  • Kayla: BackgroundDiagnosed with Mosaic Down syndrome at birth. Condition mainly affected Kaylas communication while able to do anything under the guidance of her parents at home like any other child. With patience and time spent with Kayla, it becomes easy to understand Kayla when expressing herself. Co-operation between the school and parents has been the major challenge facing Kaylas parents since starting her Grade R in 2009.

  • Current situation with schoolKayla is in Grade 3 in a mainstream school. Last term of 2011, the school and the department official informed Kaylas parent that Kayla was not supposed to be in mainstream school. However, parents complained of not being informed of challenges earlier that the school were experiencing with teaching Kayla Positive feedback received from new teacher during School Progress Meetings this year (2012), Parents started feeling positive that the school was beginning to engage them

  • ProblemRecently, the mother was caught by surprise when informed of an arranged meeting in a special school to discuss the possibility of admitting Kayla thereFollowing up with the school to understand reason for moving Kayla to a special school, the response was that the school does not cater for children like Kayla. The school has now told the mother that the school will no longer admit Kayla next year.

  • Finding SolutionsI feel that they did not do anything for Kayla from day one on. Inclusive Education was never implemented. In Grade R everything was going well but in Grade 1 when Kayla did not cope she was not helped in any way. Not a single day the teachers have approached me to tell me they have challenges and how I could assist them, but I was told that there are schools for people like Kayla and that a mainstream school is not for her. The department official from Education in one of the meetings bluntly told me that inclusive education does not work in the Eastern Cape and there is nothing they can do but move Kayla to a special school. To be honest, I sometimes wonder if its worth fighting or should I just take my child out of that school. To me she has wasted her time there in learning. I feel drained and as a parent I feel that I failed her. (Parent focus group,2012).

  • Question remains ?

    Does this child stay at home like other disabled children in East London because Inclusive Education does not work in the Eastern Cape, and also because her current school does not cater for children like her.

  • Lindokuhle: 12 year old girl in grade 2

    Presenter:

    Nondumiso Mtshayeni - Parent of Lindokuhle and member of Parent Support Group for Parents with Disabled Children in East London

  • Lindokuhle: Background

    Has cerebral palsy with athetosis. At a special school for learners with physical disabilities since January 2008. However she has not benefited from the school mainly because of the lack of therapists at the school, especially suitably trained speech therapists with a special qualification in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Therefore has been deprived of her right and opportunity to education in spite of Rehab having facilitated the provision of all necessary assistive devices and program she needs for learning and communication.

  • Educational historyAssessed in Pretoria - Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) in Nov 2007 . Rehab was instrumental in facilitating this assessment - Reports from CAAC available on request. I quote from their September 2010 report;

  • CAAC FindingsAfter a detailed consultation and assessment of her abilities and limitations, Lindokuhle was found to be an excellent candidate for AAC. Specific recommendation were:To get Laptop with Grid Software Program to start expressing herself, Computer access to learn literacy and also to access the curriculum. An ETRAN (eye transfer communication system) low tech device.

  • CAAC Program: Benefits for LindoImplementation there of would:

    Teach Lindokuhle to communicate,Enable her to start to learn to read and write (using a computer).

    However, lack of resources at the special school that Lindo has been attending since 2008 made it impossible to implement this program

  • Efforts made by the Parent.. I am very worried about my childs lack of schooling. I have made every effort to promote the education for my child. I have been in constant contact with the school, the Education Dept, Rehab and private therapists. I have been relying on the Dept of Education for five (5) years now since Lindo was admitted at her current school, but unfortunately my efforts have not had any results as my child is still not receiving appropriate education.

  • Recommendation by CAACIn a letter received from CAAC in September 2010, they write;We were also made aware from a variety of people of the grave challenges Lindo faced, especially with regard to schooling. It seemed that she faced barriers in terms of educational practices at the school, such as over-burdened teachers who do not have background knowledge of training in the use of AAC

  • Recommendations cont..

    teachers who are not able to give individual attention to Lindos educational needs, as well as lack of AAC resources at school. We strongly recommended an alternative placement for her, ..

  • Views of the Parent

    Lindo has encountered 5 years of barriers in terms of her right to basic learning. Up to now, the system has failed Lindo in several ways including:her right to education, her right to communicate and her right to adequate care.

  • Parent views cont..

    Years wasted can never be replaced Intervention by the Department can still play a role towards a better future of Lindokuhle and other disabled children in East London

  • Sibabalwe, 15 year old girl in grade 5

    Presenter:Zoleka Mkhunqwana - Parent of Sibabalwe and member of Parent Support Group for Parents with Disabled Children in East London

  • Background of SibabalweDiagnosed as Cerebral Palsy with athetosis 2007- Started at Vukuhambe Special School Resource Centre Mother had to attend school for the entire year as no one at school could communicate or understand her. This meant being available at school to assist teachers also with other childrenUnfortunately, I had to stop assisting at school due to negative attitude expressed by some teachers as s result of my presence in class during lessons.

  • ChallengesBoth Lindokuhle and Sibabalwe were identified as candidates for CAAC program therefore, their challenges at Vukuhambe are the same as discussed by Lindokuhles mother

    It is in the light of the three cases presented that we see the following critical issues as needing urgent attention to save the future of disabled learners in East London-Eastern Cape;

  • Critical issues for consideration Recruitment of therapists, Social Workers and professional nurses in schools to facilitate implementation of an inclusive education system with specific to Vukuhambe being a Special School Resource Centre Inclusion of disabled children in mainstream schools with necessary support by the schools and department (DBST)Strengthen links between the District Curriculum section and Special Schools

  • Critical issues contReview Policies & Acts governing Special Schools Conduct a knowledge and skills audit of all Special Schools (Educators & Non-educators) and conduct structured and relevant courses & workshopsNegative attitudes, non-accommodating and threatening shown by most teachers towards disabled children and their parents

  • Critical issues contTeacher Aides independently marking learners scripts and teaching-while neither qualified nor employed for such duties (special report on Vukuhambe, 2009)The school has no Assessment Committee nor does it have an Annual School Assessment Programme as prescribed by the National Protocol on Assessment-Gazette No. 29467 of 11 Dec 2006 (special report on Vukuhambe, 2009)

  • Critical issues contLearner Representative Council (LRC) not involved in decision making and not part of SGB (point 5 Learner Welfare)Older learners do not get physiotherapy and do not get any subsidy on tuition (point 4&9 Learner Welfare)Learners changed diapers only after 8 hours irrespective of whether they are incontinent or not including those having their menstrual periods (point 10,11&12 Learner Welfare)

  • Additional Reports on current situation at Vukuhambe SSRC

    Report on Vukuhambe SSRC, October 2009. Department of Education Eastern Cape Grievances of Leaners at Vukuhambe. 25 April 2009. Observations by Occupational Therapist, Mostert, A. June 2009.

  • Nomakhwezi Gocina: 084 9156647Nondumiso Mtshayeni: 071 8762242Zoleka Mkhunqwana: 083 6467576

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