The quality of education and educational materials in special needs schools are often poor. Frequently, children are admitted to special needs schools without proper assessment of their educational needs and the resources required to provide them with an appropriate range of experiences are not available.
The School4Life Special Needs School is unique in Bungoma District. It opened in summer 2016 by transforming one of the Kindergarten classrooms to a Special Needs Section. In order to encourage interaction amongst one another, the Special Needs Section is integrated with the Kindergarten. Wheelchair accessible toilets have also been built and two specially trained teachers hired.
These trained teachers support the mental and physical development of these special needs children by guiding them through various areas such as: math, language and communication, social training, creative exercises, environmental awareness, music and movement, and perception activities, all while leaving enough time for free play. To prepare the children for potential life as an independent person, the teachers offer weaving, sewing, jewelry making, modeling, drawing, cookery, hairdressing, grooming, housekeeping, and child care lessons.
School4Life offers education to 30 children with special needs and believes in personalized care, understanding that each child is an individual with his or her own needs. There is a serious lack of such specialized environments and the need for such places is enormous. It is estimated that around 20% of children in rural communities have some sort of disability, including physical or mental disabilities, and social skill challenges. In the Kenyan culture, handicapped children are often perceived as bad omens and are therefore hidden away in their homes. Estimates suggest that 90% of handicapped children do not attend schools at all nor receive any other form of social integration.
School4Life has only just begun to provide for these children. It is our goal to build a separate Special Needs School, offering a larger number of special needs children the opportunity to learn, grow, and socialize.