An educational institution, Royal School for Education Therapy, Abuja, has urged relevant government agencies and stakeholders to enforce laws that uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, especially children.
The founder of the school, Dr. Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, called on stakeholders, including parents, educators, experts and service providers, to push for the enforcement of existing laws and see to it that children with special needs were not segregated in accessing the services they were entitled to.
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Adejugbe-Williams, who made the call during a virtual conference on “Provision of Services for Learners with Special Needs Especially during a Pandemic”, noted that in Nigeria, children with special needs were often neglected, marginalised and denied basic services.
Speakers and experts at the event frowned at the non- implementation of the National Policy on Education (2004) which provides for special and formal education for children with disabilities and impairments and disadvantaged and gifted children.
In her presentation, an Educator, Behaviour Analyst and parent, Mrs. Daisy Esohe Jonathan, noted that children with special needs experienced a lot of confusion in their social skills development due to the lockdown drills of social distancing and social isolation, stressing that what used to be acceptable was no longer the norm; hence the curriculum and the learning programme had to be changed to suit the children.
She affirmed that in advocating for the implementation of the national policy, the term “special needs” had to be worked on and defined accurately in order for the special needs children to be well captured in the policy on education.
Earlier, an autism consultant and advocate, Mrs. Olusola Folarin Ogunde, noted that children with special needs all over the country must be reached and enrolled in special schools, especially children whose education had been neglected, adding that social service jobs should be created in Nigeria and that there should be rigorous training for educators of children with special needs.