The Ministry of Education has been examining the services provided for children with special needs on the island with a view to ensuring that they are properly educated.
Coordinator of Special Education in Dominica, Melina Fontaine, told a recent forum that the ministry has taken proactive steps to train teachers at various levels in special education.
“We have so far engaged consultants under a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) funded Education Enhancement project, to assist us with the process and we are presently training persons at different levels. We are doing in-service training and we have sent out persons to complete Bachelors and Masters Degree level in special education,” she said.
Fontaine revealed that one individual has been trained in speech therapy and will be available to work with children with special needs by September this year.
“We now have two other psychologists attached to the Ministry of Education and one person completing training in speech therapy. Come September for the first time in Dominica, we will have someone who is a speech therapist to provide services,” she remarked.
Fontaine says the Ministry of Education will continue to explore ways to ensure that the needs of children with special needs are met.
“The field of special education is very broad and we have much to do before we can reach all the children with special needs. Some of them require specialist services… that we are unable to provide because of the lack of human resource,” she noted.
She also pointed out that “providing for children with special needs requires a collaborative effort through a multi-disciplinary team approach.”
A team of specialists from the Rotary Club of Orleans in Canada is this week conducting a special training program for twenty educators working with children with special needs.
The training is being held at the Alpha Centre.