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Mary Rice Centre breaking new ground in special education

Shillong, Dec 3: Mary Rice Centre for Special Education is breaking new ground with regards to the care and education of children with special needs.
Speaking to Highland Post today about the initiatives of the Centre, Special Educator (SE) Josephine Lyngdoh said, “In 2020 we will be starting the pre-nursery where both the children with disability and those without disability will be studying in the same classroom. In this classroom, we will need a Special Educator who is at the same time a regular teacher.”
Lyngdoh also informed that there is a dearth of SEs in Meghalaya and attributed this gap to a lack of awareness about the role of a SE and the training and qualification needed to become one.
“In Mary Rice we have 9 SEs and we have the assistant teachers. We SEs train the assistant teachers and with regular supervision and monitoring we learn from one another in the process.”
She said that this blend of both the regular and special educator in the school works and the teachers learn from one another which mitigate the problem of the lack of the SEs.
In this regard, Lyngdoh said that the state government should seriously look into this issue. “The education department should conduct a survey to have the latest statistics on the number of children with disabilities in the state and all the requirements to address this matter for the welfare of the students with special needs,” she opined.
Informing that they have written to the state government several times on the issue of funding, she said, “The SEs deal with children with different disabilities like cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual impairment, etc. which requires a lot of equipment.”
She said that the therapies for the children with special needs are also of vital importance and the types of equipment needed are also very costly if bought from outside.
Meanwhile on the occasion of International Day for persons with disabilities, Mary Rice Centre for Special Education organized the inclusive sports meet at St. Anthony’s mini-stadium Shillong today.
Five mainstream schools and two special schools participated in the event.
Lyngdoh said that the inclusive sports meet aims to draw the attention of the community, local governing body, media, etc., to the acceptance of children with disabilities in educational institutions.
Informing that this year the theme is ‘The Future is Accessible’ she said, “Through this event, we expect that the public will be more aware and sensitized about disabilities in general and inclusion in particular.”