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Disabled children to get personalized education

2013-10-17 10:42 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

Shanghai is to offer personalized education to children with disabilities and who receive medical care at all its 58 public special schools and teaching sites citywide over the next few years, the Shanghai Education Commission said Wednesday.

Currently, only special schools in 10 of 17 districts are included in a pilot program.

Under this, teachers and doctors work together to design a unique curriculum for each child based on their needs. Tuition, meals and accommodation are all free.

Each school in the pilot is assigned a community doctor who pays regular visits and offers help to teachers.

The children also receive hospital check-ups, which are more comprehensive than those usually done in schools.

"The program runs very well and we are promoting it to every special school and teaching spot to benefit more disabled children," said Chen Dongzhen, an official with the commission's basic education department.

Shanghai has around 9,000 registered disabled students with conditions such as blindness, deafness, autism, learning difficulties and Down's syndrome. This figure includes 400 preschoolers and 300 college students.

As conditions and severity vary, it is often difficult for teachers to teach classes.

Personalized education and medical care can help children improve more, say experts.

"Doctors' help is very important as medical assessments can help teachers discover the core obstacles that hinder disabled children in leading a normal life," said Zhang Jiehua, principal of the Baoshan District Peizhi School, the only special school to take mid-and higher-level cerebral palsy and autistic children in the district.

"When teachers know these obstacles, can they use better ways to teach," added Zhang.

Chen said the commission will have special focus on special education for preschoolers, whose conditions may be controlled at an early age with proper medical care and personalized education.

Shanghai has 29 public specials schools and an independent public kindergarten for disabled children, while 28 mainstream public schools have classes for disabled children.

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