Status of special units and integrated classes for children with Mental retardation: study on selected schools in the Amhara National Regional State

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Addis Ababa University


Status of Special Units and Integrated Classes for Children with Mental Retardation: Study on Selected Schools in the Amhara National Regional State. The study tried to explore and describe the functioning of special units and integrated class for children with mental retardation at schools in the Amhara National Regional tate. In the study four schools with special unit and integrated class based educational provisions were selected. As the participants for the study four directors, four special units heads seven and thirteen teachers teaching children with mental retardation at the special units and regular classroom respectively were selected. Interview guide, questionnaire, and data collection form were used as data collecting instrument. The data collected was then presented in a descriptive form and analyzed qualitatively. The results of the study showed that there is lack of well-formulated identification technique appropriate instrument and trained professionals for assessing children with mental retardation at the schools. Moreover, the study also found out that children are roughly identified as mentally retarded on the basis of some observable developmental patterns and physical features . In the special units special educators and a regular classroom teacher provide instruction to children with mental retardation. As it was revealed in the study, there are 8 teachers teaching children with mental retardation in the special units out of which 7 are trained as special educators and 1 is a general education teacher. In terms of additional training they received, it was identified that such trainings were arranged for limited instances since the beginning of the special needs educational program at the schools. With regard to integrating children with mental retardation into the regular classrooms, the study noted that the procedure is conducted based on the measurement of the children's skills in the academic, communication, social, self-care and independent functioning areas. After that, the regular classroom teachers take a full responsibility of teaching the children. However, the results depicted that the teachers did not get enough training that enable them to teach the children in the regular classroom. Furthermore, they also did not receive assistance from the special educators as to how to provide instruction more effectively to these children. Concerning the challenges the regular classroom teachers faced, the result revealed that teachers encountered problems related with children behaviors and on teaching different subjects to the children. On top of this, the study also found out that there are no resource rooms in each of the sampled schools. To offset these deficiencies, the special educators and regular classroom teachers render educational support to the children as on need bases. Regarding the support the schools provide to the special units and integrated classes, the study found out that the schools give assistance such as material support and tutorial services. The schools also arranged trainings for the teachers. The training for the special educators was given on self-contained instruction. Where as for the regular classroom teachers the school arranges training to be given by the special educators.



Amhara National Regional State