and more mentally handicapped children and adolescents can be placed in ordinary
schools, the primary and high schools. Schools are making that more easy. Appliances
and adjusted educational tools have to be present to make it possible. The school
will get extra lesson hours and an ambulant accompaniment, if that is necessary
to prevent the child for going to special education. Unfortunately, the accessibility
of the school buildings is the most important problem.
The children just want to go to a school, together with the other children from their street, block or city. The regular primary-, secondary- and grammar education is a fine place, even for mentally handicapped children. If it is about higher education, it is the only place to go. There is little special higher education for mentally handicapped adolescents.
Frequently, there must be some changes, before a mentally handicapped pupil can be placed on an ordinary school.
• The child may require a competent accompaniment. If this is the case, ambulant accompaniment, from special education, will come to the school to accompany the child or the teacher. This ambulant accompaniment is basically given for maximal two years. The amount of hours of accompaniment differs from child to child. It is the special school that decides whether the child is applicable to have ambulant accompaniment. Parents are able to request that accompaniment by the school of the child, or after consultation with the school request it themselves.
• A mentally handicapped pupil sometimes has higher demands on the teacher than regular pupils. If the child gets ambulant accompaniment from a special school, the primary school is, depending on the kind of handicap, assigned extra formation, for one or two days in a week. In secondary school, schools are only able to get extra formation for pupils with a visual or auditive handicap.
• Some children require adjusted education tools and appliances, to follow ordinary education. If it is about communication appliances, which the child also uses at home, they will be compensated by the health insurer. Other adjusted appliances, including special furniture and deaf interpreters, are compensated by a special law, called “Uitvoering Werknemersverzekeringen (UWV)”.
If the transport from and to school is a problem, people could make use of the
use the communal pupils transport.
• Mentally handicapped pupils may take adjusted exams. The contents of this exam is the same, only the way of taking the exam is different. The questions are in bigger letters for instance, or they are being read aloud on a cassette. Sometimes, the candidate may take his exam on a typewriter or a computer, or he may have more time to answer the questions.
Unfortunately not all children that want to go to an ordinary school can go to it.
Thiandi is a girl of 15 years old.
Until this summer she was attending an ordinary primary school.
But the Dutch law says that children who are older than 14 years can no longer go to a primary school.
They have to go to a secondary school.
Alas non of the secondary schools in Almere, or even the whole of the Netherlands are willing to accept Thiandi as a student.
The school principals think her handicap is to complicated.
At the moment (march 2005) she is living with her mother in England where she can go to an ordinary secondary school.
Her brother and sister and second mother are still living in Almere, the Netherlands.