The Head of Education for Children with Special Learning Difficulties, Mr Bernard Boaheng, has called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to establish special in-service training programmes for teachers in areas of learning disabilities.
Speaking at a workshop of teachers in Accra, Mr Boaheng said until teachers were properly trained and equipped with the necessary tools to identify children with special learning disabilities, it would be difficult for them to understand and detect children with such needs.
The workshop, organised by a non-governmental organisation, Special Learning Difficulties Demystified (SpLendid), brought together both public and private school teachers in Accra and Tema.
Participants were introduced to the “hidden word” of special learning difficulties.
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According to Mr Boaheng, while teachers were often not aware of these conditions and might wrongly accuse a child of being lazy, “many parents think their children have spiritual problems if they do not perform well in school.’’
There are disabilities that usually cannot be seen outward. A typical special learning difficulty is dyslexia, a reading disorder. A person with this disorder may be very intelligent and doing well in other subjects, but has consistent problems in reading, writing and spelling,” he said.
Mr Boaheng mentioned Dyscalculia, difficulty in Mathematics; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, difficulty in attention and concentration; Irlen Syndrome and visual perception disorder as some of the common special learning difficulties with children.
According to him, It was estimated that in any population about 10 per cent of people had one or more special learning difficulties.
Mr Boaheng also called for changes in the education curriculum in order to make it “friendly to children with special learning difficulties”.
“Some children prefer to hold or see something to assist them understand. With such people, there should be a lot of teaching and learning materials to support them,” he said.
By Dominic Moses Awiah/Daily Graphic/Ghana