What is Education?

Education has a very wide concept. It is a combination of many concepts such as teaching, learning, training etc. So, the education has various concept.

In the wider sense, education is the process of total development of personality of an individual

Latin Roots of Education

Education is derived from two Latin words “Educare” or “Educere” and “Educatum”. Educare or Educere means to lead out, to draw out, to raise or to educate where as in Educatum “E”means from inside and “catum” means to draw out or act of teaching or training.

Definition of Education

Some of the definition of education according to the great educators

<> According to Mahatma Ghandhi:

“By education I mean the all-round drawing of the best in child and man body, mind and soul”

<> According to Swami Vivekanand:

“Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man. Like fire in a piece of flint, knowledge exist in the mind”.

<> According to Rabindranath Tagore:

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence”

<> According to Plato:

“Education develops in the body and the soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection he is capable of”

<> According to Rousseau:

“Education is the child’s development from within”

<> According to Aristorle:

“Education is the creation of sound mind in a sound body. It develops man’s faculty specially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty”

What is Special Education?

Special education is the branch of education for individuals who are different from normal human beings. It is specially designed for students who are disabled, gifted child or with special learning needs.

Here are some Definitions of special education

<> According to Rowayane Smith,1973:

Special education is instruction that is individually tailored to meet the unique learning needs of a child with disabilities.

<> According to Hallahan and Kauffman,1978:

Special education means specially designed instruction which meets the unusual need of an exceptional student special materials, teaching techniques, equipment and facilities may be required.

<> According to Prof. Jangira,1986:

Special education is the process of making educational provision to meet special needs of children, which cannot be satisfied by the present arrangements available in ordinary schools.

<> According to Heward,1996:

Special education is individually planned, systematically implemented and carefully evaluated instruction to help exceptional children achieve the greatest possible personal self-sufficiency and success in present and future environments.

Special education also known as special needs education, aided education, vocational education and limb care authority education is the practice of educating students with special needs in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs.

Special Needs Education: This is education which provides appropriate modification in curriculum  delivery methods, educational resources, medium of communication or the learning environment in order to cater for individual differences in learning.

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) defines Special Education as “specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability,” Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings.

These interventions are designed to help learners with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and their community.

Common special needs include learning disabilities, communication disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disabilities.

Common special needs include learning disabilities, communication disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disabilities.

Aims and objectives of Special education

1. To develop all social, vocational, communication skills for person with disability

2. To develop basic living skills for activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, eating, grooming, toileting etc.

3. To develop fine motor and gross motor skills

4. To become vocationally independent

5. To enhance thinking co-ordination and psycho-motor activities in term of occupation

Impairment: Is any loss or abnormality of physiological, psychological, or anatomical structure or function, whether permanent or temporary.

Disability: Is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person’s lifetime.

Handicap: Is a disadvantage or a restriction of activity which may result from disability.

Communication disorders: is any disorder that affects somebody’s ability to communicate.

The delays and disorders can range from simple sound substitution to the inability to understand or use one’s native language.

Disorder: Is a condition resulting from illness that causes part of a body unable to function properly. E.g. mental disorder.

Exceptionality: It refers to any individual whose physical, mental or behavioral performance deviates from the normal either positively or negatively.

Inclusion: This is a philosophy which focuses on the process of adjusting the home, the school, and the society so that all the individuals, regardless of their differences, can have the opportunity to interact, play, learn, work and experience the feeling of belonging and experiment to develop in accordance with their potentials and difficulties.

Special needs: is a term used in to describe individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological. It’s important for teachers to teaching and learning materials to facilitate learning. It’s important for teachers to modify teaching methods and strategies to the learners’ needs. It’s important for teachers to modify the environment to suit learners’ needs.

Inclusive Education: This is an approach in which learners with disabilities and special needs, regardless of age and disability, are provided with appropriate education within regular schools.

For inclusive education to succeed the following should be considered;

Qualified trained teachers

Modification of the environment

Provision of relevant teaching and learning materials

Paraprofessionals e.g. nurses, psychiatrists teachers counselors etc

Goals of Special Education

The guiding philosophy of education in Kenya is the concern that every Kenyan has an inalienable right to education regardless of their economic status to basic education (from ECDE to Secondary school) (Republic of Kenya 1999, p135).
The specific goals include:
Provision of skills and attitudes aimed at identification, assessment and provision of early  intervention for correction and rehabilitation of children said to have SEN.
Promotion of integration of the ‘handicapped’ in formal education training.
Promotion of awareness in the needs of the ‘disabled’ and the methods of alleviating the effects of various disabilities.
Promotion of measures to prevent impairments in order to limit incidences of disabilities.
Development of appropriate vocational instructional material.
Capacity building of teachers and their skills and competencies.
Development and production of training modules and reference materials
Training of education officers and training of trainers
Induction and creation of awareness among field officers, parents and communities.

Definition of “Impairment/Disability and Handicapped”

The WHO (World Health Organization) has defined the term “Impairment/Disability and Handicapped” in 1990 via publication of the international classification of “Impairment/Disability and Handicapped” (ICIDH)

Handicap: A disadvantage of a human being in terms of impairment or disability that prevents or ultimately stops an individual from the role that is normal for daily living activities (depending on gender, age and social factors)

Impairment: Any loss or abnormality of psychological or anatomical structure generally taken to be at organ level.

Disability: Any lack of ability (Due to impairment/disability) to perform an activity similarly in the manner or within the range considered normal for human being.

Handicap Impairment Disablity
1. Unable to attend school 1. Polio Affected 1. Unable to walk
2. Unable to hear normally 2. Damage in the ear drum 2. Enable to transmit sound
3. Unable to attend school 3. Damage in retina 3. Unable to see

Definition and Types of CWSN (Child with Special Needs)

* Child with special needs is different from the normal child in some aspects. A special child is one who may have physical/mental problem or special talents in thinking, seeing, hearing, speaking, socializing or with movements

* A special child is a combination of special abilities/disabilities

* Children with special needs are always referred as Children with special needs (CWSN)/ Exceptional children

Classification of children with special needs:

1. Children with Intellectual disability (Mental Retardation)

2. Children with Hearing Impairment

3. Children with Multiple Disability

4. Children with Visual Impairment

5. Children with Autism

6. Children with Learning Disability

7. Children with Cerebral Palsy

8. Children with Orthopedic Handicapped

9. Children with speech Handicapped


Reference taken from the educator “Hallahan and Kauffman (Year-1991)” which highlights the role of all educators including SPECIAL EDUCATORS in educating the children with special needs.

Here are the main and significant role of the special educator/Teacher:

1. Accommodating about the individual student’s needs

2. Assessing academic abilities and disabilities (strength and weakness of the child)

3. Referring for evaluation

4. Developing individualized education programme (IEP)

5. Communicating with parents and guardians

6. Collaborating with other professionals

7. Tackling serious problems

8. Using the advance technology

9. Knowledge of special education Law

10. Providing remedial teaching

11. Participating in multidisciplinary team (A teacher and professionals from different disciplines)

12. Expertise (Patience & Hope. etc.) to teach children with special needs (CWSN)



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