Learning disability, according to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), is a disorder in one or more of the basic cognitive abilities involved in understanding or using spoken or written language. This could lead to an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read and write or do mathematical calculations. The term includes conditions like perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunctionality, reading disabilities etc.
The education of a child born with a disability must begin at birth in order to ensure proper development while growing up. Parents should endeavour to assist their children grow from a helpless infant stage to a self-reliant adult.
ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Negative attitude towards people with disabilities can become a barrier to achieving their full potential. The National Disability Survey 2006 explores how people with disabilities experienced negative attitude towards them. However, younger people and those with mental health issues or learning disability are more likely to report it as a problem. No adequate provision is made to meet the specific needs of these group of people.
We live in a global age, where information and communications technology (ICT) tool is available to assist these children.
Education and training can take place with the use of online resources such as videos, audio materials and text. Even television programmes create special activities for disabled children to learn from. This approach, will greatly improve their learning skills and help them master difficult tasks and gain access to various educational tools to learn with their friends.
With this in place, people with one disability or the other are able to learn how to read, communicate and identify words correctly. While they spend hours glued to the Television, their parents can take the opportunity to introduce educative videos, or games that will help improve their learning ability. However, this method provides lifelong learning opportunities by making formal learning available at their homes or schools.
Challenges Militating Education for the Physically Challenged
The challenges faced in the implementation of inclusive education in Nigeria, includes the following:
- • Inadequate plan to include children with special learning disabilities in schools.
- • No open arm acceptance of these children in schools.
- • Inadequate information on learning facilities available for these children to their parents.
- • Inadequate maintenance and funding of their schools
- • Lack of expertise on how to teach special children in schools.
However, adopting the following strategies will address the needs of learners with disabilities, and also make the program a worthwhile venture.
Students with or without disabilities should be made to understand the essence of living and helping one another in their respective schools.
During my undergraduate days, there was a case of a partially blind lady who never had any special educational material except for the typing material her parents could afford, she had no basic tools to suit her needs. During exams, a lecture dictates the questions in order for her to answers the questions with her mini typewriter. At times, lecturers explain further in order for her to key in the little point she is able to get in the cause of teaching. The school lacked resources to care for her needs, as a result, she had to cope like every normal student.
Government should provide adequate funds to procure necessary ICT materials that will improve the learning standard of these group of people.
Teachers should also go through proper training to focus on the ability of these individuals, using variety of resources like audio-visual, special computer to fit their needs or print materials.
There should be proper training for teachers to improve and develop ways on how to teach and use latest ICT materials in classrooms. For children with learning disabilities, positive reinforcement, love and acceptance can help them emerge with strong sense of worth.
However, it is imperative for the government to put in place adequate resources for the provision of high quality equipment, in order to help in the development of the physically challenged.