Govt told implement policies addressing disability
Written by Mulindi Carey Adekhela
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Parents with their disabled children at the Ewamakhumbi Speacil Unit. PHOTO | Carey Adekhela]
Gladys Ogembo, an officer in charge of children with special needs in Kakamega Central has urged parents with disabled children to take them to school instead of hiding them at home.
She urged parents to use the opportunity of the available schools in the region to educate their children.
She said they started teaching children with special needs and disabilities that had been neglected for some time after the government came up with the policy ‘education for all,’ and now they can access education in the regular schools.
Gladys said the regular curriculum cannot cater for these children effectively and therefore, urged parents to take up the children for assessment so as they can establish their specific problem and open up specific programs to respond to their needs.
“The regular curriculum cannot cater for them (disabled children) effectively, therefore, we have to assess their problem then we can now open up specific program to respond to their needs,” said the officer.
There are a number of special needs programme units in Kakamega Central District which include units for learners with mental challenges, visual impairment, physically challenged particularly for the cerebral paralyzed and the schools for the deaf.
The teachers who attend to these children cited a number of challenges the pupils face. Everlyn Khaemba, a teacher at Ewamakhumbi special unit, says that the biggest challenge is poverty.
‘‘These children hail from poor backgrounds. Some are orphaned, a situation that makes it hard for them to cope up with the other regular students as they need special attention.’’
She termed feeding as another challenge, citing an example of epileptic students who are under strong medication that makes them weak by the time they get to school.
“The children on medication take drugs while at home without being fed properly, by the time they get to school they are sicker,” she said.
She said the physically handicapped find it hard walking to school.
They are appealing to the government and well wishers to come up with a program that will redeem these children from the bondage of suffering especially for the epileptic and physically challenged children for whom access to medical facilities is close to impossible due to the problem of proximity and finance.
Appreciating what the government is doing so far, they are appealing to it to subsidize and increase the clinics at least in every village. To bring them close to the people with disabilities.
“We are happy what the government is doing, but we also wish to appeal to them to at least build clinics at every village,” they said.
Bridgit Lusweti a teacher at Nairumbi, an integrated Unit with the school for the blind in Bungoma, said they are not well funded by the government something that puts them in an awkward situation since they cannot purchase Braille’s for the students to use.
“We are faced with a problem of teaching materials and also staff; I am the only one and I have to attend to both regular students and those with special needs,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the parents of the disabled children, Joyce Masanga, said that they are ready to come out with their children and appealed to well wishers and the government to chip in and help them as the raising of these children is quite expensive for them since some of them are not working, others were forced to stop working because of the condition of their children while others were dismissed from their places of work.