Approaches to educating children with disabilities have changed over the years to involve a more inclusive model whereby children with disabilities attend mainstream school, when possible. When specialized education is needed, they attend appropriate classes, based on their abilities, within mainstream schools. Even when children with special needs are not learning in the same classroom as their peers, they socialize with them during meal and recess times. This model helps children with disabilities access more education resources and develop social skills, while supporting greater acceptance and understanding from their peers and community.
Kupenda helps schools prepare for this inclusive model by training teachers and staff how to support children with cerebral palsy and autism. We also provide sign language training workshops for school staff.
Most schools that we support are public institutions staffed by the government and educational management boards. However, more teachers and support staff are often needed than what these groups can provide. In response, Kupenda works with the school leadership teams to identify and hire for the most urgently needed positions and then works to help the local government to take over salary payments for these positions.
Kupenda’s school staffing and training models have allowed us to hire special needs teachers, teaching assistants, and occupational therapists who now provide tailored, appropriate education to hundreds of children with disabilities. Each year, the local government takes over more of these staff salaries, thereby establishing a growing and sustainable special education model in Kilifi County.