Home Business TEACHING CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

TEACHING CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

2311
0
GOITSE OITSILE

ON her fi rst day, Cheshire Foundation of Botswana special education teacher, Goitse Oitsile, had to overcome the negative stigma associated with working among disabled children with multiple learning
diffi culties. Fortunately, the shock therapy awakened in her an innate passion for a lifetime career with disabled learners at variance with the aspirations of the majority of University of Botswana (UB) graduates who prefer glossy-coated work environments with able-bodied workforces. Oitsile who graduated in 2007 from UB with a Bachelor of Arts, Humanities majoring in special education admitted that the Cheshire Foundation case scenario was the most unique and real life fi rst encounter since her internship at Boipelego Secondary School in Serowe. Speaking to Career Guide this week, Oitsile noted that, “the greatest gift specialised education provides the children is making them discover a correlation between individual effort and success; where maximum effort equates successful outcomes. “This is best done through creating an environment where the incumbents’ weaknesses do not overshadow
but empower the learners.” According to Oitsile, children with learning diffi culties suffer from genetic or acquired dyslexia and dyscalculia, exacerbated by mental retardation, visual and hearing
impairments. She explained that while the former cannot read or write, the latter lack arithmetical skills including diffi culties in understanding simple number concepts, grasp of numbers, number facts and procedures. Although some dyscalculia children can learn the sequence of counting, they may experience difficulties navigating back and forth. Oitsile said that due to the multiple nature of physical disabilities
the majority of the children suffer from, co-ordinated use of hands of pens, pencils or painting brushes
takes longer for the slowest learners. Therefore the acquisition of costly therapeutic appliances including
special teaching material for the children would speed up the children’s learning ability, especially
the slowest learners. Although Cheshire Foundation has rehabilitated some of the learners to attend formal school, the biggest challenge comes from members of the community who blame witchcraft or some other bizarre causes for the children’s conditions.
“We need to mount intensive education and awareness campaigns beginning with the youth to sensitize that ‘disability is not inability’. It is a cross-cutting societal issue calling for specialised interventions
and other therapeutic procedures for rehabilitation.” Oitsile who has accepted working with children with learning diffi culties as a lifetime career says that she will undertake further studies to become more professional in her approach. “I have made up my mind and will only leave the teaching aspect to involve in more challenging roles such as designing a curriculum for children with learning diffi culties. Who knows, at some stage, I may start my own school, funds permitting!”