Educational inclusion for children with Down Syndrome
Tuesday was Human Rights Day in South Africa, but it was also World Down Syndrome Day, a day to celebrate the individuals and families fighting for inclusion of their children and loved ones.
Nyakallo Mofokeng is 11-years-old and has Downs Syndrome. This chromosomal disorder results in physical and intellectual delays, and affects 1 in 650 babies in the developing world. Despite Nyakallo’s learning difficulties, his mother Baatile has fought for South Africa’s inclusive education policies whereby all children, regardless of differences, have the opportunity to learn with and from each other.
Baatile has seen Nyakallo flourish in a mainstream school where he picks up the habits of his classmates, pushing him to learn more. Hanlie Swanepoel The Chairperson of the Down Syndrome association in Pretoria, and a Learning support coordinator at the Department of Education, has worked closely with an array of schools in Gauteng to include and cater to children with physical or intellectual disabilities.
“I have been involved with many children of which Kallo is one. What we have learnt from children with Down Syndrome they copy cat behaviour, they copycat learning. He is working up to their potential almost,” says Hanlie.
Health-e’s TV insert follows the story of Baatile, her husband Daniel and Elsie Mokeona – also a mother of a child with Down Syndrome who cannot afford inclusive education. Through parent support groups, Baatile, Daniel and Elsie are fighting for the educational and social inclusion of their children in mainstream society.