Inclusive education in Peru
18 October 2013
Posted by Steve Rose
This week, after a long flight, my colleague Jenny Fletcher, who is the Deputy Head of Children's Services at Sense UK, and I are in Lima, the capital of Peru, to address the Ministry of Education's International Conference on Inclusive Education. This is my first visit to Peru and to Sense International's services there and is an opportunity for me to share my experiences of working with intervenors and developing early intervention and support for deafblind children with an international audience.
There will be around 500 people attending the conference, most of whom will be teachers from a range of specialist and mainstream schools. Some will never have supported a deafblind child before whilst others may regularly support children with multi-sensory impairment but may be unsure how best to communicate them. This is why I will be addressing the group on some of the practical aspects of communicating with a deafblind child. Each child who is deafblind will have individual communication needs; they will communicate in different ways and have varying degrees of deafblindness. Understanding this is key to supporting a deafblind child no matter where you are in the world.
Jenny will be speaking about the role of intervenors as in Peru they are in the process of validating sign language and preparing the profile of guide interpreters. She will share her experiences of working with intervenors in the UK. By providing one-to-one support to congenitally deafblind children or adults an intervenor acts as an enabler, promoting the person's social and personal development, encouraging their independent skills and facilitating their communication with the world around them. Developing this kind of support in Peru would be a huge step forward for deafblind children.
As a result of the team in Peru's lobbying of the government, deafblindness is now legally recognised and a guide interpreter service exists to support deafblind people. Various government sectors are assuming responsibilities regarding the needs of deafblind people such as the inclusion of sensory disability on their ID card. The education system is now evolving to meet the needs of deafblind students and support is being provided to children and their teachers. However, putting into place the framework and skills to establish these guide and intervenor services take time. This conference is a good opportunity for us to share our experiences of working with deafblind children in the UK and to help others develop support services.
Steve Rose is Head of Children's Specialist Services at Sense in the UK
Children's Specialist Services (link to Sense UK website)
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First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Thursday 18 September 2014