Creating a Place for Children with Special Needs

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The more I see the more I am convinced that the best environment within which to educate children with disabilities is a combination of specialized schools that directly address their needs, and a full-inclusion educational model that seeks to mainstream these special children with their “regular” peers. 

Of course, the amount of time a child might spend in a specialized environment versus full-inclusion depends entirely on the needs of that child and may vary considerably from child to child. This is what the experiences and years raising my daughter have taught me and what my continuing research and conversations with other parents and specialists, both domestically and internationally, have proven to me to be true.

Unfortunately, most governments of developed countries around the world are still caught up in the “social experiment” that is full-inclusion in prescribing education policy for their citizens.  I say “social experiment” because in my mind that’s precisely what full-inclusion amounts to as society puts more importance on acceptance and tolerance of differences than on delivering the proper resources to children with special needs.   

And unfortunately for children with special needs in Afghanistan this philosophy has been a HUGE obstacle in getting anything meaningful accomplished for them.  The full-inclusion model to educate disabled children adopted by the Afghan government has been handed-down from the United Nations, the over-arching authority for countries seeking funding to address the social and civil needs of their developing societies.   

This is really a shame because the needs of children with disabilities in Afghanistan as well as other developing countries is so much better served by also providing more specialized environments that are separate and apart from the mainstream student body.  But regrettably, the needs of these children have come in second to the social experiment of full-inclusion.  This must change.

Doesn’t it seem obvious that the best way to gain greater acceptance of individuals with disabilities is to provide them the proper resources so that they can grow and develop appropriately, reaching their full potential and becoming contributing members of their societies?

About the author


I have spent the past 25 years advocating on behalf of my disabled daughter to help her realize greater independence and a better quality of life; it has been a life-lesson for me and the most difficult thing I have ever done. Raising a child with disabilities is challenging enough…

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