Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Practice What You Say You Teach

There are many places/ schools here in Saudi Arabia but specifically in Jeddah who claim to care for children with special needs. Now when I say "claim" I mean they say they do it or provide it but it looks otherwise.

I would first like to start by saying that it aggravates me to know that there are teachers teaching in schools but are not trained to do so. This goes for special education teachers, English teachers and the likes. Some schools, but I would venture to say most schools don't provide a way for their teachers to learn how to teach effectively. Professional development or teacher training should be something on-going for both veteran teachers and new ones, throughout the school year. Its very necessary to have this available to teachers so that they are EFFECTIVELY teaching students.

 I was reading a comment on Facebook, where a similar topic had come up and someone mentioned that teacher training may be seen as a burden here in Saudi Arabia more than a way to help teachers and students learn; I'm actually thinking the same. Though it shouldn't be the case, I can imagine teachers actually being upset that they have to learn something new. It makes me wanna SMH (shake my head).

Now back to the top:

While reading this article I felt an overwhelming feeling of sympathy for parents of special needs children here in KSA. Though I have always, I feel it even more. There is no reason why parents should feel they are wasting money on their child's education, because schools and centers aren't practicing what they say they teach. If you as the school administrator advertise that your school/ teachers do X, Y and Z, do just that and be sure to have qualified experienced people who do it.

I have been to places here in Jeddah that claim they cater to children with special needs, when all it is is a daycare, and unfortunately the parents don't know or haven't realized this as being the case. Or it could be that the parents of these children are just interested in getting their kids help they are happy there is a place that will accept them. In order for parents to know and identify a "fly by night operation", they first need to know what one looks like. Now I wont really get into what one looks like, but I will say that as parents you should ask about the credentials of the people who will be educating your child. How much experience the teacher or therapist has as well as how the school or program goes about educating their teachers makes a difference. Additionally, I feel parents should go to these places and see whats going on in them before making a final decision. If all else fails, ask someone who is knowledgeable in the field to go with you to help you decide or help to ask questions you as the parent may not have thought of.

I have heard at least 5 different stories where children go to these schools or centers for 3 years, 5 years or even 10 years as 1 client of mine has and hadn't  progressed ANY!!! 10 years, really? The child still doesn't speak? This is shameful. As soon as this child got one-on-one, trained teacher quality help, the child now speaks and can communicate with others. Its sad.

As a parent, though not a parent of a special needs child, I would venture to say that we as parents like to make sure that our children have the best education available to them. Parents look for a safe place as well as a place that will educate their children and be off speakable quality.  But if a place lacks both, then what are the parents of these children left with???? The number of children with special needs is on the rise here. The number of disappointed parents are too.

What I would like parents to understand is, quality services for children with special needs isn't cheap as I have noticed parents complain about this. It takes a lot of time, concentration,materials and dedication to work with a child who has special needs. It doesn't come easy as all cases are different.

 It seems there is too less quality education options with too many special needs children.

1 comment:

  1. As a mom of a child with special needs and having lived through the lack of services in Saudi I can't blame the failed system. I think the system is a reflection of the society itself when it comes to their understanding and thinking of children with special needs. I firmly blame parents, because unless your truly illiterate it is up to you as a parent to get the things your child needs. It is up to you to be their advocate, to seek the services, to make things happen if you need to in your home. There is a wealth of information but you need the attitude that seeks it out and puts it into practice for your child. One of the major issues I have with Saudi is the attitudes of the parents. Denial is their best friend, they also don't think their children can so why bother, hiring out cheap unqualified help to simply follow your child around so you don't have to be bothered is common. If the parents stepped up to become proper advocates for their children change would come and much faster. No society advanced when it comes to the services for children with special needs without some hard core advocating parents.


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