Reg. 3 holds Special Needs workshop

― “My special needs child is a gifted child and I want to thank the Education Department for reminding me that” – Melissa Duncan

DPI, Guyana, Friday, April 5, 2019

With April the World Autism Awareness Month, the Department of Education for Region 3 conducted a Special Education Needs (SEN) Parents’ Workshop on Wednesday.

The workshop, in the boardroom of the regional administration, was held under the theme, “Empowering Parents to deal with Special Education Needs and Disability” and targeted parents with children who require special attention in the education sector.

According to the coordinator, Akeshia Benjamin, who is a SEN Education Officer (SEN–EO), the rationale of the workshop is to advocate the importance “of special education through public awareness and alliance building. It paves the way for the SEN Unit to advance its work in the delivery of SEN services to children who have special education needs. Specifically, it forms the basis in keeping with the Ministry of Education SEN Action Plan – Partnership in Education as a means to encourage positive attitudes towards persons with SEN.”

The feature address to the participants was delivered by Regional Executive Officer (REO), Jennifer Ferreira-Dougall who noted that Region 3 is leading the country in recognising Special Education Needs. “Soon we will commission a brand–new state-of-the-art Special Education Needs school, and teachers are currently being trained to handle SEN, so Region 3 is leading the way.”

Regional Education Officer (REdO), Annesta Douglas noted that the objectives of the workshop are for parents to have a better understanding of Special Education Needs and Disability; for parents to use the knowledge and skills gained to promote supportive home environments for children with SEN; for parents to embrace inclusion and be advocates toward SEN; and for parents to be encouraged to minimize the stigma attached to Special Education Needs children.

Melissa Duncan, a parent who participated in the workshop, congratulated the Education Department for the initiative. “This is extremely remarkable. I have my disabled child whom I love greatly but find it so difficult to deal with, but today’s class has given me so many ideas and mechanisms to handle different situations as they arise. It is just very good. I am now equipped with some knowledge that will better guide me on how to treat my child and keep him informed just like other children. My special needs child is a gifted child and I want to thank the Education Department for reminding me that,” Duncan said with tears in her eyes.

Story and Images: Ganesh Mahipaul.