Ms Eunice Araba Turkson, an Educational Consultant in the United States, has underscored the importance of parental involvement to the success of inclusive education.
She said it is legal to have all students educated irrespective of their disability and economic background and parents are the first point of call if Ghana is to successfully implement her inclusive education policy.
Ms Turkson, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said that in educating children with special needs, there is no one size fits all approach, parents and the school system work collaboratively to achieve a common goal.
She said,” there are different categories of disabilities with each one having their unique characteristics. Usually, the school depends on the parents for pertinent information and effective management of a child with special needs.”
Listing the different disabilities, Ms Turkson said, they are classified into 13 categories, namely: Specific Learning Disabilities which includes dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disability and nonverbal learning disability.
There is what is referred to as Other Health impairment, a condition that limits a child’s strength, energy or alertness, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Other disability categories include the Autism Spectrum Disorder which mainly affects a child’s social and communication skills, Emotional Disturbances which may include anxiety and depression, Speech or language impairment, visual impairment which includes blindness, hearing impairment, Deaf-blindness.
The rest are Orthopaedic impairment like cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury and multiple disabilities.
Ms Turkson said educational systems should not lump children with disabilities together as one, hence the need to involve parents when taking decisions on the education of their children.
“In the United States, educators sometimes take documents to parents for their review and signature should they miss meetings, to the extent that we may find means of transportation for parents to join the meeting; and sometimes meetings are called off or rescheduled if parents cannot be there,” she said.