The National Resource Center for Inclusive Education (NARCIE) held a training session for educators. NARCIE’s mandate is to assist with assessing learning disabilities while promoting the education of people with diverse abilities. The session held today was about disability etiquette. The video provided courtesy of the Ministry of Education puts participants in the role of the disabled to give them firsthand experience of how educators can improve the learning experience.
Juanita Cadle – Special Education Officer ( NARCIE ): “The whole session today is about disability etiquette and we think that this topic is very important. It is very important to know how to behave, how to communicate and how to interact with persons with disabilities on a whole because they are all over in our community. If we don’t meet them at the schools, they are at the grocery shop and all over our community. We started off with some general guidelines to follow when interacting with persons with disabilities but as we go on later on in the presentation we are going to be breaking off into groups and each group is going to be working with a particular disability so that they know more specific guidelines as to how to work with probably a person who is blind or a person who is deaf because it will change a little bit. As I mentioned before persons with disabilities are coming out more into the communities, they are not hidden anymore, they are not kept at home, they are being employed, they are going to schools, they are even reaching the tertiary level so much more we all need to learn to interact with them. The basic principles behind etiquette is common courtesy and always thinking about the person first, then looking at the disability but we do not focus and emphasize on the disability. Whatever the disability the person may come with they do have skills, talents and something to contribute: at the Ministry of Education, at the Ministry of Health and wherever we have persons that can be employed because they do have something to contribute to our society.”
Earlett Thomas – Manager (NARCIE): “Today we are doing a session on disability etiquette. The purpose of the session is so that we can bring people together: people from the Ministry of Education whether it be senior management, service areas, from all the different departments so that they can learn to work with people and to live among people with disabilities.”
Reporter: “Why do you think this is important?”
Earlett Thomas – Manager (NARCIE): “I think it is important because as one of the speakers in there said the power of words. It is important that we know how to address people, how to deal with people and how to accept people. As the manager of NARCIE, we advocate for people with disabilities hence the reason why we want everybody to know what we do, how we do it and why we do what we do. We are trying to incorporate that, we are trying to build an inclusive society where we have our children with special needs in the regular school system, where you have people with special needs working in the same environment with people who are considered normal so because of that too we need to have them appreciate our people with disabilities and know how to treat them.”
This year 165 students were accommodated as special needs students and received some assistance from NARCIE.