No more ‘back of the class’ learning

…. Teacher & advocate says children with disabilities should be better integrated


Children with disabilities are often placed at the back of classrooms and not necessarily given the special attention they need to learn but Rosemarie Ramitt, a teacher and advocate, believes that this should change.

Ramitt, a visually impaired teacher, told the News Room that children with disabilities encounter many challenges because some teachers are not able to provide support needed.

“One of the biggest challenges I would say would be the unwillingness of some of the mainstream teachers.

“… Some are willing but for the most part, we find that our students are in the classrooms and they are not treated as though they are part of the classrooms. They are often placed either at the back of the class and forgotten about,” Ramitt explained.

That, she said, should not be.

Rosemarie Ramitt (Photo: News Room/ December 3, 2022)

Through the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Needs Unit, strides have been made in improving children’s learning. The Unit for the Blind, which Ramitt is part of, helps to create tactile diagrams for children, teach them how to use their laptops and phone, support their orientation and mobility skills inter alia.

Still, Ramitt said that much more support and tailored programmes are needed.

“…I think there really has to be a revision of what is being done especially with children who are deaf and those with intellectual disabilities,” she said.

Ramitt also believes that with earlier diagnosis, children can be provided with the skills they need to adapt to learning in normal classrooms.

What she does not believe in, however, is the segregation of children with disabilities in schools. According to her, that does not help them develop social skills.

“Integration or inclusion is the idea where all children regardless of what differences they may have a supported in one classroom where everyone can be together and so it becomes normalised.

“We are raising these children to be able to function, not segregated from society… what happens when they leave school and have to get a job? We don’t want to impair their social skills by separating them from the rest of society,” the teacher explained.

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