When those who should fail to see
Visually impaired children abound in the society. Many are often not detected for years because their parents have either been inattentive or simply forced to ignore the problem because they did not recognize that there is help somewhere.
But if the parents fail to recognize the problems one would expect the teachers at the various schools to detect a child with a problem. Here, too, problem recognition is lacking with disastrous effect for the society.
We are left to wonder about the extent of illiteracy in the society through no fault of the child but rather because parents and the teachers who spend almost as much time as parents with children never considered that the child might have had a problem.
One easy way of shelving the problem is to blame everything on poverty. Indeed, most of the illiterate people come from the lower income bracket. No one thinks to investigate the cause because it is easier to apportion blame than to find the root of the problem and to work on a solution.
An enterprising group of people, about fifteen years ago, started a school for the visually impaired. The founders had no formal training but they were community minded and had an interest in children. There is support from the Ministry of Education and some non-governmental organizations that focus on children with disability.
Just recently, Ann Geer, a committee member of a group named United Women for Special Children, intervened to help some two dozen visually impaired children from Linden. The programme entailed bringing the children to the city for special examination at the facility operated by Dr. Karen Parsram. There was the case of an eight-year-old boy who could not see literally beyond his nose.
His problem was diagnosed only a year ago by a teacher at the Linden special school. It is surprising that his mother never recognized that her child could not see. This is almost impossible. The situation gets worse when teachers at the school concluded that the child was a trickster who simply did not want to learn.
Fortunately, he is young and he can catch up with what he missed. He has been rescued from the cracks that lurk in the society.
Two years ago the Ministry of Education concluded that some Linden schools had the highest concentration of trained teachers. One must now wonder at the level of training. Child Psychology was one of the basic programmes in the training regimen. Teachers were trained to detect problems among children. For the teachers at the school in Linden to fail to detect that the child was visually impaired is criminal.
We expect the government to solve all our problems so we may say that the government should ensure that each school is attended to by mobile clinics that would pay periodic visits to the more than two thousand schools in the country. This is not going to happen.
What it comes down to is that parents must first learn to be close to the children so that they could spot any problem. Parents of yesteryear had no training to be parents and they did an excellent job to the extent that the world is now a place where there are so many things that people now take for granted.
The internet has all but eradicated the need for post offices and libraries; mobility is so fast that one can reach just about any part of the world in a day. Man has defied earth’s gravity and athletes, using modern techniques are going faster and are actually stronger than their counterparts. The people who made this possible were those whose parents paid close attention to them.
Today’s parents are more often than not divorced from their children with the result that any problem a child might have goes undetected. It is the same with the teachers, many of whom simply do not take the time to assess the children with whom they work.
Perhaps the school inspectorate programme needs to be expanded because if something is not done the nation may very well wonder at the preponderance of people who appear to be unable to make any worthwhile contribution to the society.