Our team together with Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education are getting ready for yet another busy week ahead of us to set up 4 outdoor play grounds in four rural primary schools… This makes it 31 schools in just 9 months and 61 schools in 3 years… We are more than inspired by our achievement so far!
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability that causes differences in the way people behave, communicate, learn, and experience the world. Autism is caused by differences in the brain. Autism occurs in people all over the world. Autism is not caused by witchcraft or anything of the sort, and autism is not something that can be cured. Autistic individuals do not need a cure, as autism is not a bad thing. Autism is a spectrum, and some people need more support to live independently than others. Some individuals with autism need help with all daily living tasks such as toileting and eating, while other individuals may only have slight communication differences. People with autism can live very fulfilling lives, they just may need some accommodations to help them reach their potential.
Inclusive education benefits everyone, not just students with disabilities. Inclusive education keeps students with disabilities in the classroom with their peers. This benefits students because it creates a culture where differences are less different. Students have their worldview broadened because they see people who are different from them and learn that they have things in common. This also adds accommodations into the classroom that benefit everyone. Students with disabilities in the classroom will have access to aids like visual schedules, graphic organizers, manipulatives, visual aids, and more. These things help all learners, not just the disabled students they were created to help. Inclusive classrooms also ensure there are high expectations for all. By having students with disabilities learn alongside their non-disabled peers, we ensure students with disabilities are held to the same standards and are not given permission to fail. Students with disabilities in separate schools are often given lower standards to meet when they could be just as successful as typical students.
Often in Zimbabwe, students with disabilities are sent to schools unlike the ones of the kids around them. Kids with disabilities in Zimbabwe find themselves in institutions specifically for physical or developmental disabilities. These students miss out on a typical education when all they would need to be successful is a few accommodations. Inclusive education keeps disabled students with their peers, all learning in the same classroom.
Inclusive education keeps disabled students in the general education classroom. Instead of putting kids in separate schools, the general education classroom has some modifications made to it so that all students can learn. In cases of physical disabilities, inclusive schools may have ramps to make them accessible to students in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. In cases of developmental disabilities, inclusive schools modify the curriculum. These students can be just as successful as their non-disabled peers with accommodations such as schedules or manipulatives.
Over the past month our team has been camping around 27 primary schools in Hwange District training and setting up outdoor play grounds for children in Early Childhood Development grade. We feel inspired by the zeal in most communities as parents came out in numbers to work with us in setting up these important play facilities. We can only imagine a brighter future for the many children we are helping out judging from the commitment of the parents.