One Step at a Time: Effective Inclusive Practices to Make Education Accessible to All

Tuesday 8 March 2022

One Step at a Time: Effective Inclusive Practices to Make Education Accessible to All

Ilirjan (10-year-old) and Albert (8-year-old), are two brothers from Koshtove, a village 8 km from Mitrovica South.  Even though their disorder has not been diagnosed, both children seem to have mild autism symptoms as they have been having problems with speaking and expressing themselves. For a long time now, they have been attending the classes at the Resource center in Mitrovica. Resource centres are located within special schools and their function is to provide a space and resources for itinerant (special education) teachers to develop class materials for children with disability in special schools.

Their mom, Zejnije, and their teachers, however, believe that both children have made a lot of progress due to the help that Save the Children has provided by supporting their participation in many activities and logopedic sessions. They believe that both children are ready to attend regular schools, however, due to the Evaluation Team at the Municipality of Mitrovica not being functional, they have not been able to get pedagogical evidence to support their claim.

“I can see they [Ilirjan and Albert] have made a lot of progress since the beginning of their journey, so now it is not like they are learning something new or making any effort in the resource center, now they need proper classes and lectures. There they are still identifying shapes, colors, learning how to dress or wear their shoes. They need to take a further step because I can see they are capable and their teachers can see it too”- says their mom Zejnije.

Zejnije together with her two sons, Ilirjan and Albert, have been beneficiaries of the Save the Children Kosova/o program since 2016. Recently SCK has distributed tablets to its beneficiaries, including Ilirjan and Albert, to facilitate their access to many activities part of the Inclusive Education platform[1] which was developed by SCK in 2020. According to Zejnije, because of the facilities provided by SCK the boys have made a lot of progress in expressing themselves and communicating.  In order for her to learn to navigate the platform and to support her children with any activity or help they might need, Zejnije has attended the “Digital Competency Training” offered by SCK.

“Save the Children has supported me and my children so much. First, they have helped Albert to enroll in public pre-school which has helped him a lot in his speech, socialize with other children and learn from them new words. Because of the training that I attended, I have been able to get involved in the activities organized in the platform and have been equipped with knowledge and information”, says Zejnije.

Zejnije believes that although the activities are great to stimulate children’s brains, now they are in greater need of logopedic sessions and psychological therapies. Both of which are currently missing at the resource center. She has noticed that when her children used to attend these kinds of sessions, they have developed their communication skills within three months.

If it weren’t for Save the Children’s efforts and support, my children would be able to come this far. They have done and continue to do everything they can to prove that my children are able to go to a regular school with their peers because they are not learning anything new at the resource center”, says Zejnije.

Before the regulation was approved by the Municipal Assembly the evaluation team was working on a voluntary basis, due to the non-implementation of the regulation by the municipality of Mitrovica to financially support the evaluation team now this organ is inoperative.

Zejnije is very eager to follow new training sessions and hopes that Save the Children will continue to offer new possibilities for her and her children because they have helped her work with their children also while they are at home.

“Because of the materials that we have gotten from Save the Children, I have gotten to know my children more and do different activities with them. Albert loves playing with plasticine. I just hope the Municipality will do the same and invest in children with disabilities just as much”,says Albert and Ilirjan’s mom Zejnije.