Establish More Speial Units In Schools, St. Patricks Special School D/HT Appeals.



St. Patricks Special School’s Deputy Headteacher Irene Gachathi has challenged schools countrywide to establish special units to cater for the physically and mentally handicapped children lamenting that so many cases missed an opportunity to learn due to the lack of enough facilities.

Gachathi said that if all schools had a special unit, children with special needs would get a chance to benefit and improve their lives thus helping them secure jobs in the future.

“Special schools not only try to rectify the mental state of people but also develop skills,” explained Gachathi.

She called on parents whose children were mentally challenged not live in denial but instead take their kids to these institutions of learning where they would benefit from their programs.

Gachathi said that St Patricks Special School in Thika has a total of 98 pupils aged between the ages 6 to 18 years who, on admission, passed through an evaluation process which involved an interview where an education assessment was carried out to establish the nature of the child’s challenges.

“Students found with autism join the autistic class while the others are put in vocational classes ranging from level one to level three according to academic performance,” she explained.

“Level one and two are pre-vocational classes to teach basic skills. The learner then progresses to the vocational classes where they can make products for sale such as scuffs, purses, key holders, hand bags, mats among others.”

Some of the handcraft made by pupils St. Patricks Special School.
She added that their learners also participated in co-curricular activities like sports. They were trained on how to play floor hockey which helped them to both exercise and in coordination.

Gachathi lamented that the lack of public awareness had led very many parents to neglect children with special needs adding that there was a great need for civic education in the society so as to help tap that raw talent that was wasting away in our homes.

Otherwise, the D/HT called on well-wishers to support the institution in its endeavour since they faced numerous challenges that sought for external assistance. They were faced with challenges in transport especially when they needed medical services, the school compound was too small to admit all those who applied and qualified for their admission, not forgetting the limitation of finances to cater for their recurrent expenditure such as feeding the learners especially those who came from very poor backgrounds and were unable to pay school fees.

Currently St. Patricks Special School was well staffed and sufficient teachers though they lacked a nurse to attend to children once they fall sick.

“Preparing learners with special needs for an exit plan has also been a milestone yet to be overcome. They need people to do some follow up to ensure they don’t go back to the previous state,” she explained.            
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