The Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) has urged parents with children suffering from various forms of disabilities not to hide them at home but instead enroll them in special schools.
KISE Dean of Students, Mr Christopher Lengoris, said the institute is currently carrying out a countrywide campaign to have all children with disabilities assessed and provided with the necessary support.
“Let us bring out these children so that they can be assessed and get placement in their respective special schools for them to have a bright future,” he said at A.I.C Kapsabet School for the Deaf.
The body was in Nandi County for two days to conduct free Assessment and Therapy services, calling on administrators and education officials to help in identifying the children with special needs so that they can be supported.
The Dean of Students blamed ignorance, drug and alcohol abuse, the use of banned medical drugs, and traditional birth attendants as some of the causes of delivering children with challenges.
He said the disabilities could be as a result of prolonged labour, home-based deliveries, and failures by mothers to visit clinics during pregnancies, which could be avoided if proper medical care is taken.
“Cerebral palsy, Autism, physical disabilities, and mental challenges are neither curses nor forms of traditional beliefs but medical conditions which need proper care. Let us love and accommodate children who are abled differently in our society,” he said.
Nandi County Director of Education Harrison Muriuki said many parents continue to hide their children living with disabilities due to stigma, calling on local leaders to sensitize the parents on the importance of bringing them forward.
“KISE has a curriculum and institutions for all children with special needs where they are taught and their talents nurtured. We should bring them forward for assessment so that they can be placed in institutions that fits them instead of chaining them or locking them behind closed doors,” he said.
Lincy Wafula, one of the parents who brought her 9-year-old girl for assessment, said the journey of raising a special needs child is not easy; it takes a lot of sacrifice and patience.
Wafula, who delivered her daughter at Busia District Hospital, said her child suffered brain damage due to prolonged labour.
“It’s every mother’s wish to deliver a healthy child. I have taken her therapies, and now I see this as an opportunity for me to find out which school fits her. We cannot keep them in the house forever. They need to interact and live a decent and normal life like other normal children,” she said.
According to records, Nandi County has over 23,000 people living with disabilities, out of which only 5000 have come out to publicly speak about their condition.