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Should a disabled child go to a "normal" school or a special school? In South Africa, at the moment, disabled children go to a special school. "Normal" schools do not have facilities or accept disabled children .
It should depend on the disablity ,whether
(a) physical OR
If the disability is only physical and not mental and hopefully the
school is "disability friendly", i.e access for wheelchairs (wide doors
and ramps etc) then there is no reason why a physically disabled person
should not attend a "normal" school.
If the disability is mental then it should depend on the extent of the learning capabilities (mild or severe) of the disabled individual.
- With a mild learning disability a "one-to-one" teacher is required and this is dependent in the school encouraging such a scheme and the local authority having the resources to pay for this service. If this is possible then there is no reason why a mildly handicapped person (e.g. Downs syndrome) should not attend a "normal" school.
- With a severe learning disablity it is only fair on the individual that he/she is placed in a school/day centre that copes for this type of disability. The teachers and/or carers are specially trained and the parents feel more comfortable knowing their children are properly cared for. The severity of the mental disability would make an individual unsuitable for main streem schooling.
Years ago eduction for children with special needs were non-existent.
Over the years the situation has improved. Parents can now fight
for their children to be accepted in any school they wish to place their
children, BUT, parents can sometimes make mistakes and do more harm
to their child. The Education Department says all children have a
right to an education. They are also saying that children with special
needs should go to a "normal" school. HOW? Most schools in
South Africa are not equiped to handle disabled children. How does
one get to the first floor without lifts? Can teachers who already
have close to forty children in a class in South Africa, now have disabled
children, with wheelchairs in the same class? What about the special
equipment, eg. computers. The mind boggles at the adjustments a disabled
child would have to deal with in a "normal " school. What about
the "normal" child. Yes disabled children want to be treated like
"normal" children and we are "normal" children, but can we expect a "normal"
child to work at the pace that a disabled child works. Are we not
hindering progress for a "normal" child.
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