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Education ministry rolls out new curriculum for students with learning disabilities

Published:Sunday | June 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has developed a new curriculum for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.

The document, which replaces the curriculum that was developed by the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID), focuses on five main areas: life skills, functional mathematics, language and communication, science, and physical education.

As with the National Standard Curriculum (NSC), information technology and the arts function as the principal drivers.

The new curriculum also comprises a variety of pre-screening and assessment tools to assist teachers in customizing the content for their students by using data to determine instructional goals.

It is, therefore, not arranged by grade levels, but will allow teachers to select content based on the learners’ needs, and established learning goals.

Assistant Chief Education Officer in charge of the ministry’s Special Unit, Dr Sharon Anderson-Morgan, told JIS News that the curriculum will enable students to advance at their own pace, while facilitating the development of a high level of daily living and functional academic and practical skills within the parameters of the youngsters’ capabilities.

She said while the curriculum is aligned with selected content areas and themes in the NSC, it emphasises functional academics through a life skills-based approach.

Anderson-Morgan explained that this helps students with limitations in cognition and adaptive skills to develop competencies for community integration and independent living.

The curriculum is available to all schools with students who can benefit from the methodology. However, it is currently widely used in segregated special education institutions catering to students with intellectual disabilities.