Special schools that have been set up in the past, for them provisions have been made for integrated education. Children studying in these schools who are afflicted with hearing impairment, visual impairment and locomotors disabilities are asked to follow a specialized curriculum that can meet their specific educational needs. At the same time efforts are being made to put it in line with the general education curriculum, so that in future, those children who are migrated to mainstream schools are able to adapt well.
Over the time, there has been change in the school of thought and growing awareness with which people have realized that instead of working outside the mainstream classrooms, the special schools can work with, and provide support to, regular schools. The education of disabled people in India has been recognized as an integral part of the educational system; therefore, the policies and programs adopted in recent years have been in accordance with this belief. However, more developmental changes are required to make special and general education come closer.
Inclusive Schools Can Bring Difference
Special schools and educators are like guiding lights that have helped disabled persons to break out into the world and embark on the path of self-realization and self-expression. With the change in time, it is hoped that inclusive schools will trigger off the process that will help disabled persons merge into mainstream life and empower them to be integral part of it.
Inclusive education must be sighted as a rational step towards evolution of special education for persons with disability. On the contrary, special schools and special educators should try to strengthen the inclusion efforts by helping mainstream schools in addressing the special needs and challenges posed by the presence of disabled children. This could be the most positive development that will bridge gap between special children and others. This will be to a win -win situation for all.
Some the known organizations of India – National Association for the Blind, Action for Ability Development and Inclusion (AADI, formerly Spastic Society of Northern India), Vidya Sagar and few others have reorganized their set ups and are aggressively working for the same. They have realigned themselves with mainstream schools, helping them with inputs like training of teachers, provision of learning material, curriculum adaptation, support in the classroom, evaluation process, development of teaching aids, etc. This emerging partnership appears to be heading in the right direction and promises a great deal of changes.