Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mainstream route for special children

Mainstream route for special children

22nd March 2013 11:56 AM
The government and many voluntary organisations might be slogging it out to bring children with special needs (CWSN) into the mainstream, yet specialised educational training for these kids is still a cause of concern.
In a bid to brighten up the future of such children, the Kerala unit of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) will soon provide training in sign language and Braille to all teachers in government and aided schools in the state.
The initiative is part of the SSA’s efforts to implement the concept of inclusive education in the state which has 1,78,201 special needs kids in 2013-14 academic year, as compared to the previous year’s figure of 1,64,094.
“All around the world, special schools are giving way to inclusive education -- a concept wherein CWSN are educated in regular schools, except in rare cases,” says E Ahammed Kutty, project officer of the SSA inclusive education division.
According to a recent SSA survey, CWSN constitutes 3.40 per cent of the total child population in the state.
Of the 10 categories of CWSN, children with low vision top the list with the figure touching 78,599, followed by 28,451 mentally-challenged children. As many as 13,384 are hearing-impaired, while 721 are totally blind.  District-wise, Malappuram tops the list with 7,89,441 CWSN, followed by the capital district with 5,05,866 children.   With 1,34,978, Wayanad records the lowest CWSN population in the state.   The SSA, through its resource centres at block and cluster levels functioning at the panchayat level, executes various welfare programmes, including medical assistance. “Last year, 1,212 medical camps were held where medicines and other aids were supplied free of cost. The children are being attended to on a continuous basis,” Ahammed Kutty says.
“We also run 49 special centres for children with autism spectrum disorder,” he says. The SSA also offers home assistance to 3,285 non-school-going children.
The state project office of SSA has the unique distinction of identifying children with special needs and giving them continuous assistance.

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