The government has been urged to equip special needs schools with facilities and teachers if the Competency-Based Curriculum is to succeed.
This was said at ‘A Night of Shine’ event at AIC Cure International Hospital in Kijabe.
The event, sponsored by Standard Group PLC for the third year in a row, was started by American Tim Tebow to show love to children with various kinds of disabilities. It is celebrated in 34 countries globally every year in February.
“Right now we are talking about CBC, which is a good idea and the government is saying no child should be left behind; they should be integrated in the mainstream schools but are we ready in terms of infrastructure? Do the schools have enough special teachers and specialists?,” posed Acorn Special Tutorials director Eva Nyoike.
Ms Nyoike, who also has two children with disabilities, said education should also be free for special needs children, since it is expensive to educate them.
Standard Group Corporate Affairs Manager Naomi Kosgei said the media house is keen on supporting the disabled.
“We are looking forward to working with Cure International and other organisations. We have gotten people calling with the desire to support children with disabilities, and we call upon other partners to join us to give these special people necessary devices and rehabilitation,” said Ms Kosgei.
Nelson Muoki, the Development Manager at the hospital said many parents keep their disabled children at homes, hence missing out on rehabilitation services, some of which are free.
“We have rehabilitation services. We normally have mobile clinics in various counties yearly. The fact that some parents hide their children at home makes it hard for us to reach them. Bring them out to us even if you do not have money. We will treat them,” said Muoki.
Dickson Mwirigi, an occupational therapist with the Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya also said late identification of children with disabilities is a barrier to rehabilitation efforts.
“The challenge we have is late identification of children with cerebral palsy. The condition should be identified at birth and intervention made in good time. Late identification delays the intervention exercise, which makes them exhaust the oxygen they have, causing them more problems,” he said.
Mr Mwirigi asked the government to reduce the cost of wheelchairs.
“A hand-driven wheelchair costs about Sh24,000, yet it is locally made by the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya with support from the government. It should cost between Sh3,000 and Sh5,000. Most parents are poor and have other needs to meet,” said Mwirigi.