Dr. Quist Calls for Support for Special Education

An Assistant Principal at a Montgomery County Public Schools, USA, Dr. Faustina Quist, has called on Ghanaians to intensify awareness on special education in Ghana. "Special education has come to stay. But the awareness is not there. We can start from somewhere. It is a process,” she noted. Dr. Quist noted that in the USA, stakeholders put a premium on the thirteen disabilities areas identified under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Act, according to Dr. Quist, ensured that services were provided to children with disabilities, from aged zero to thirty-one. However, in Ghana, she expressed disquiet that much attention was being given to autism, deaf and dumb to the detriment of other disabilities. Dr. Quist made the observations when she delivered a paper on “Enhancing the Field of Special Education” at a day’s sensitisation seminar organised by the Department of Special Education under Faculty of Educational Foundations. She said children with special needs could be productive in every sector of the economy when they are given the requisite skills. she, therefore, advised parents who have children with disabilities not to abandon them to beg for alms. Dr. Quist explained to participants the systematic instructional methods of teaching kids with special needs in the classroom. She said the method of instruction for children with special needs was different from that of "normal" students adding, “if you have a child suffering from autism and you are like I need you to put this pencil here, I need you to sit down, etc. what you have to know is that the autistic child needs to process and organise what you said to him in his brain for a few seconds.” She urged special education institutions to take advantage of technology to teach students with disabilities, to facilitate learning. Dr. Quist called on authorities at Special Needs Centers to involve parents, regarding their wards education. The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Eric Nyarko Simpson, in a brief remark, commended Dr. Quist for the lecture and added that the Department's doors were open for both local and international collaboration.