Disabilities come in a wide range of conditions and disorders. One might be born physically disabled, while being perfectly mentally capable of working and functioning in the society. Some become disabled later in life, due to certain diseases or accidents. Others are born physically healthy, but with some mental or intellectual disabilities. No matter what one’s condition might be, the disabled are a part of the society, just like all of us, and it is our duty to accept them, and help them integrate, realizing their self-worth.
There has been a lot of talk on the topic of the disabled, but it often just remains an empty talk about political correctness, without or with little action taken. Instead of just talking, we need to start working on including them into society by providing them with decent education and better chances of employment later on in life. Vocational training for the disabled is an integral part in this process, and has to be approached carefully and taken seriously in order to implement it the right way.
Disabled children (and in this case it mostly refers to the children with mental and learning disabilities) are often pushed into inclusion programmes, i.e. they are stuck in classes with other children and have to learn and study at the same rate. Off course, this is not an entirely a bad thing. The idea behind this is quite legitimate – making both regular children and children with disabilities get acquainted with each other and explore each other’s worlds, while including special needs children into the regular stream of life.
However, this might not work for everyone, every time. First of all, the teachers in regular classes are not well versed in working with special needs kids, and are thus often, if not almost always, unable to approach them in a right way, and pass their knowledge on to them. I courses in teaching each semester at the university, and not one of them focuses on this topic! Furthermore, the tempo of teaching in regular classes is often not suitable for the disabled, making them even more confused and falling behind. These two factors can often lead to further marginalisation of the disabled, instead of providing them with the means for getting on in life. For this reason, we need vocational training for the disabled, with teachers who are well versed in teaching this way, and courses which are tailored for the disabled.
Another great bonus of having special vocational training for the disabled (or at least, special education classes in regular schools) is that these classes are usually smaller than regular ones, which usually have 20+ students and are mostly overcrowded. This means that the teacher can focus on every student more easily, thus individualising their approach for every student. This is especially important in a special education context, where each student needs much more attention, support and love from the teacher than in usual classes, and more attention means more progress and better learning.
Dealing with a disabled person, especially if it is a child might be difficult, and is always challenging, requiring a ton of patience and hard work. However, finding a suitable vocational training and education for them will help a lot, as it will help them fulfil their potential and use the maximum of their abilities.