Ms Gloria Gyamea, a Physiotherapist at the Orthopedic Training Centre (OTC), Nsawam, has called on the Ghana Education Service to urgently ensure that children with cerebral palsy are admitted into mainstream schools
She said: “As a physiotherapist, the first recommendation I make to parents is to tell them to send their children to mainstream school, but most of the children return to me disappointed that their children have been refused admission.”
“I have a list of about 250 parents with cerebral palsy children who have been refused admission into pre-school simply because they have cerebral palsy,” Ms Gyamea said.
She became aware of the problem when OTC organized a workshop for parents and care givers of cerebral palsy children to enhance their knowledge on CP management.
Ms Gyamea said that usually when children with cerebral palsy are admitted into mainstream schools they pick up developmental skills quickly and it further enhances their development.
“I have a nephew with cerebral palsy who went to mainstream school and walked just after the third term,” she said.
She went on to explain how children with CP see others walk and engage in other activities, and they feel motivated and pushed to also engage.
She urged the Ghana Education service to treat this issue as an urgent one to avoid wasting time and possibly causing much harm to cerebral palsy.
“Ghana Education Service please tell us where we can put children with CP, should we continue to hide them indoors.”
Ms Naomi Adumea Asante, an educationist, who expressed passion about the issue of admitting children with cerebral palsy into mainstream school, said it is an issue which government should treat as urgent.
She noted that every teacher who has gone through the training college knows a bit about special education, however, they do not put those skills to use.
“I am particularly worried about the so-called Montessori springing up and charging huge fees and yet refuse children with cerebral palsy admission or do not treat them well when they are in their schools.”
Ms Adumea Asante said depending on the severity of cerebral palsy, a child could get worse if he/she is put in a special schools. Even when parents send these children to specials schools they are shown a long list of people waiting to be admitted.
Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Initiator of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on cerebral palsy, expressed her own concerns:
“I have seen a lot of mothers who say that their children with cerebral palsy, even though intelligent, are kept home because schools don’t accept them.”
She expressed surprise that even with the launch of the Inclusive Education Policy, nothing seems to be happening, and said she hoped that government paid more attention to such issues.
“Many educated parents with children who have cerebral palsy are forced to stop work and stay at home to take care of their children, but how then can they take care of the children when they earn nothing and when taking care of these children involved a lot of money, “ Mrs Awadzi added