‘Change attitude towards children with special needs’

BY: Lydia Essel-Mensah
Caregivers attending to a child with special needs.
Caregivers attending to a child with special needs.

The Founder of the Special Mothers Project, Ms Hannah Awadzi, has called on the society to change its attitude towards children with special needs.

She said members of the society had not fully accepted such children because of the superstitious belief that they were cursed.

Which, she said, was why people often made derogatory remarks and called such children all sorts of names and mostly perceived them as children of river deities.

Mrs Awadzi told the Junior Graphic that because of the stigma parents of these children suffer, they usually found it difficult to bring them to the public eye or to enrol them in school.

Asked what her organisation was doing to help children with special needs, she said it had teamed up with some of the mothers of such children to educate the public to accept and treat them with love and care.

She said her outfit had trained some parents to assist their children with cerebral palsy with basic physiotherapy at home, adding that her foundation and the Multikids Foundation, which is a school, also train mothers every quarter in basic physiotherapy skills, speech and occupation therapy – a process of teaching the children how to eat by themselves.

According to her, the Special Mothers Project was pursuing the issue of inclusive education to ensure that there was at least, an inclusive early childhood development centre in every district in the country.

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Ms Awadzi said since the classroom was the best place to practise inclusive education, it was important for teachers to involve children with intellectual disabilities in class activities and not to segregate them; stressing that mingling with other children would improve things.

For her part, Ms Ellen Affam-Dadzie, a parent, added that if children with special needs were given the necessary support, they would be able to do some of the things regular children were doing.

She said as humans, unexpected situations were bound to happen, therefore, parents with special needs children should not allow society to affect them negatively but should be encouraged to change the current situation into a positive one.