The Children’s Developmental Centre (CDC) has been running services for children with developmental disabilities for the past 20 years. We are a support service organization with wide coverage, traversing the Lagos metropolis. We serve a number of families who have pre-school and school-age children. In reviewing our programmes for these children, the centre has come up with an additional social inclusion programme, to be offered to families once registered with our services. This will enable us to provide a comprehensive programme for the children, giving them a wonderful opportunity to be socially included by the centre. In essence, they will be developing and picking up appropriate social skills with the assistance of someone who cares. Some Schools has been identified as an excellent educational facility, which is already providing Montessori education to children from the pre-school to primary school age. The school is easily accessible as it is in the Surulere area. The School shares both the principles and philosophy of the CDC. The two services can synergise, creating a comprehensive Social Inclusion Programme (SIP) for pre-school children who require support in a mainstream school. The programme will be aimed at ensuring that young children who require extra support have fair and equal access to resources, services and facilities in a regular setting. This programme would be in line with the UNESCO policy of the provisions of early intervention programmes for children with special needs who will require extra support in a mainstream setting. The SIP will be set on trust and mutual understanding.
The SIP will cover all children with delayed developmental milestones with the following diagnosis and more. The children that will benefit from the SIP programme include: Children with autism. Children with behavioural challenges. Children with learning difficulty including children with Downs’ syndrome.
However, the severity of some challenges may be taken into consideration, as to whether the child can appropriately receive services. Benefits: For the other children The SIP is an opportunity for children to learn about respect for difference and to develop new forms of communication, empathy and friendship. It is also a chance for children to ask questions, explore differences and establish similarities. Typically developing children can learn to respond to others’ needs and take on a teaching or helping role. The following are also included in the list of benefits.
Meaningful friendships. Increased appreciation and acceptance of individual differences. Increased understanding and acceptance of diversity. Respect for all people. Prepares all children for adult life in an inclusive society. Opportunities to master activities by practicing and teaching others. Greater academic outcomes. For children with extra support needs Building a strong social network of friends. Creating opportunities for playing and working with other children. Development of language and academic skills. Increasing coping capacity. Improving overall communication and social skills. The principle of inclusion incorporates values like participation, friendship and respect for diversity. These benefits will be shared by all who are part of the programme.