Our Duties and Responsibilities
We, the more fortunate who are blessed with all our faculties fully functional, now have the responsibility of caring and creating an environment in which also these special members of our society can be developed, stimulated and nurtured to their full capacity. Their capacity and ultimate goals are very often those abilities and basic activities which we take for granted and discount as insignificant. For example, the simple acts of sitting, standing, eating, combing hair, toilet routine are some of the major goals for some mentally handicapped children.
The educational programme of these children is by far more complex and comprehensive and totally individual orientated. Guidance in a diverse spectrum of disciplines is required in order to develop a programme for mentally handicapped children. Included in the programme would be input from an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech therapist, psychologist, paediatrician, etc. Involved in the family counselling would very often be the social worker.
The teacher in this field therefore has the task of developing a practically executable routine programme which would incorporate all the objectives identified by the multi-disciplinary panel of professional advisors for each individual child. The children must be stimulated and nurtured in a group as well as individually to strive towards gaining independence as far as possible.
The physical accommodation, type of equipment, instruments as well as pupil ratios differ vastly from those suitable for educating normal children. The pupil-teacher ratio is normally five to one, though it may be as low as one to one in more severe cases.
Transport forms a crucial part of the educational programme and because pupils must be transported to and from the school on a daily basis adequately staffed vehicles form an integral part of the facility. Therefore this type of education is also much more capital intensive.