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Give every child an equal chance - Bowes-Howell

Published:Wednesday | July 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Bowes-Howell

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

SPECIAL EDUCATION consultant, Dr Polly Bowes-Howell, has called for considerations to be given to implementing resource centres at the grade seven level in order to assist students who encounter adaptation challenges.

Speaking with The Gleaner following the Mico University College Graduate symposium on Monday, Bowes-Howell said it is imperative that students transition well into the system in order for them to produce better results.

"Children should not go into grade seven without being screened. The vision, the hearing and the physical health: all those areas should be assessed. We need to set up resource rooms because, even the gifted and the talented, we find that they are frustrated in the classroom," she declared.

"Every grade seven classroom should have a resource room where a child can be pulled to that area when problems develop, and all those areas should have a special educator," she said.

Bowes-Howell also called for teachers to display a level of inclusiveness and equality in the classroom as too many students are being treated according to their background.

"Inclusion must be the order of the day. The Convention on the Rights of the Child speaks to the child. It didn't say anything about 'the special child' or the 'bright child'. "It said every child, and so accommodation should be made for all," Bowes-Howell declared.

"The classroom is a battlefield for children with special needs if they are too bright, but they tend to be disruptive. We can't manage them, and if they are not quick with their reasoning and thinking skills or if they have low averages, we label them. We need to get that out of the system," she said.

"Where you live should not be a barrier, your gender should not be a barrier. I would want some of our children from the inner city to get the opportunity to go above Cross Roads so that they too can believe in themselves. They must be treated as equal," she charged.

jodi-ann.gilpjn@gleanerjm.com