Teachers in the Dominican Republic learn to teach children with disabilities

The project encourages inclusion in its broadest sense

The project encourages inclusion in its broadest sense

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Thanks to this project, many children that had no access to education can now learn and get the chance to take part in society, in their community, and even to relate to their family. It doesn’t matter if they are children with some type of motor or intellectual disability; children with Down’s Syndrome or autism, those that are blind, deaf, hyperactive, have attention deficit or else a complex home situation either due to their families or as a result of the context in which they live, which can also affect the learning process. All of them will receive the attention they deserve.

Until a short while ago, children with any kind of disability or learning problems living in rural areas of the Dominican Republic remained shut away at home. Sometimes it was due to the shame felt by the families and at others it was because teachers viewed them as problematic and preferred not to accept them. The situation became so dramatic that the government launched an awareness campaign entitled Sal del escondite (Come out of hiding).

Nowadays, thanks to the work of the NGO InteRed, the country’s teachers are receiving training about how to teach these children who have distinctive abilities but who still have the same right to education. The Diploma in Inclusive Education launched by the organization with the support of Fundación MAPFRE and various local official institutions, every year trains 40 teachers, psychologists, physiotherapists and other professionals for 172 hours split between various modules over a period of five months.

This course provides professionals with the tools they need to intervene in the different classroom situations that may crop up and to get the best out of every child. Over its four years in existence, the project has become increasingly ambitious. There is even an idea being floated to create a master’s degree course.

Teachers are the key agents for guaranteeing the personal and social development of these children and young people. And education is a driving force for change. This initiative demonstrates just that.