THE EXCEPTIONAL LEARNER
11 c iv). Analyze the services which are offered to exceptional children.
Services for exceptional children
In Kenya today there are many services available for exceptional children.
1.Special schools and units
There are special schools and units of every category of special children, among them are residential and day schools for various handicapped children.
There are units attached to regular primary schools. For example there are primary schools, which may have a class for mentally retarded or hearing-impaired children.
These children learn in their special unit but can play and interact with the rest of the children in the school.
The government provides grants for capital development and aid for the expenses of learning school and units.
3.Teachers and support staff
Teachers for exceptional children are trained at Kenya institute for special Education at Kasarani, Nairobi. Kenyatta University and Maseno University offer degree programs in special Education.
The government posts teachers to special schools and units. Some schools employ teacher aides to assist special teachers. Some non-governmental organizations run their own special schools and hire their own teachers.
Education for exceptional children requires a teamwork approach. To run an ideal special education program will require the following personnel: Physicians, psychologists, therapists, occupational and physiotherapists, social nurses and teacher aides. Some categories of exceptional children need house, mothers and resource persons. All these are very expensive services.
Curriculum materials for exceptional learners are developed at the Kenya Institute of Education
The institute has a special education department with qualified staff in most areas of exceptionality
The Ministry of Education Science and Technology has an Inspectorate department charged with the responsibility of inspecting teachers and other services offered to exceptional children.
Today both Kenyatta University and Maseno University are admitting form four leavers who wish to take a Bachelors degree in Special Education. Form four leavers who qualify for the university admissions criteria of C + and who do not meet the criteria set by JAB may join the degree programs as self- sponsored candidates. Other people who qualify to take bachelor of education (Special education are the mature entrants who were previously P1 teachers with ‘O ’ or “A” level and who had three years of teaching experience. These teachers took a two years diploma in Special education at Kenya institute of special education KISE and many of them have enrolled and graduated with Bed Special Education at Kenyatta University. Some of them have graduated with Masters degree while others are PhD holders today. Before KISE was established in 1985 special education teachers were trained at Siriba, Kamwenja and Highridge Teachers colleges)
Those teachers working in special school and who may not meet the requirements of either Diploma or Degree courses are given three months in-service courses at KISE.
Placement and referral
In 1984 17eductional Assessment and referral services were established. Every district has at least one assessment centre. An assessment teacher was posted to every district to assess children with suspected disabilities and to make referral and placement of the children to special schools and units. The assessment centres provide counseling services to parents of the handicapped children. They prepare learning materials and collect information about handicapped children in the district.
Coordination of services
The government coordinates all services for handicapped children through the National Rehabilitation Committee in the Ministry of culture and social services. There are also other agencies/societies, which are actively concerned with various areas of disabilities. These include:
- The Kenya Society for Deaf Children
- The Kenya Society of the Blind
- The Kenya Society of the Mentally Handicapped
- The association of the physically disabled of Kenya
Some special schools offer vocational training as part of the 8.4.4 curriculum they teach such courses as leatherwork, agriculture, home economics, woodwork and metal work. Skilled technicians are employed to help the teachers in these programs. The Ministry of culture and social services also manages vocational rehabilitation centres where courses similar to those offered in youth polytechnics are offered.
Public Education and awareness
The government of Kenya and other agents have made a lot of effort to educate the public about the needs of handicapped persons. Medical services such as Radio, television and local newspapers have been used to create awareness of handicapped persons needs.
Among other things, talents and capabilities of exceptional persons are exposed inculcating positive attitudes among members of the public.