In this edition of the Educator experts from around the world reflect on the development of inclusion for children with visual impairment in their own country. Contributors come from Ireland, Japan, Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam share their thoughts about how their country is meeting the remarkable challenge of providing education for all children with visual impairment by 2015.
Given the range of countries contributing to this edition, there is a remarkable consistency in their perceptions of what is needed to provide children with visual impairment the opportunity to succeed in their local school. Common needs identified by authors are:
- access to the appropriate learning resources and equipment
- support from well trained teachers
- a coordinated administrative system that works across education and health at national, regional and local levels to ensure the identification and assessment of children and the efficient distribution of resources
- local schools that welcome children with disabilities and recognise their right to the same quality of education as their classmates.
In most of these countries the educational opportunities for children with visual impairment still reside predominantly in residential special schools and resource bases, but accounts from the authors show that these specialist settings have a key role in promoting and facilitating the changes that inclusive practice requires. Special schools are also key players in promoting the inclusion of children with visual impairment in local schools, and releasing their expertise is their great challenge.