Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) has organized a two-day Conference with an aim of enhancing awareness on nurturing children with disabilities at family level.

With the theme ‘Parental empowerment and engagement in nurturing the potential of children with disabilities’ the conference is scheduled for 23th and 24th November 2022 at KISE in Kasarani.

The conference which will be attended physically or virtually shall set the agenda for implementation of policies for better service delivery in the Special Needs Education sub sector.

Speaking Tuesday during a Media Breakfast meeting, KISE Director, Dr. Norman Kiogora said the conference is targeting specifically the parents of children with special needs.

“We have discovered that all the other conferences have been focusing on children with disabilities but this conference we want to hear the story of the parent who keeps this child day and night so as to encourage them on how to take care of them,” said Kiogora.

He said empowering the child without taking care of the caregiver does not help much, adding that KISE is targeting around 500 parents with special needs children to attend the meeting physically and share their stories thus encouraging others who are hiding their children somewhere.

He noted that every child can learn irrespective of the disability, all they require is an expert, capacity building of the parent and then the child can access any particular facility on their own adding that all they need is not favour but an opportunity to excel.

The Director revealed that the best researchers in the country are people with disabilities, adding that they can do even better because of their concentration.

“We want to tell the world that children with disabilities can become the best given an opportunity to do so. I thank the government for equipping KISE with resources so that any child can be assessed and advised accordingly and even get the services at a very low cost,” added the Director.

He said at KISE, services are cheap noting that the services children with disability get at a cost of Sh100 at the private sector is Sh5,000 adding that some of the facilities they have can only be found in South Africa and nowhere else in Africa.

According to KISE, a parent of a child with special needs shall be required to pay a registration fee of Ksh 11,000 to attend the conference which will cater for the accommodation of the parent, the child and the caregiver whereas others shall pay Ksh 3,000.

At the same time, the KISE Deputy Academic Registrar Examination, also the Chairperson of the Conference Johannah Mweu said through KISE the parents and the children shall be supported.

“Collaboration, partnerships and linkages is key for any institution to succeed, and therefore I urge stakeholders including the media to join hands to empower parents of children with special needs,” he said.

About Competence Based Curriculum (CBC), Mweu said through KISE parents shall be empowered to see that they are involved much as the parents are.

Research and Innovation Coordinator Dr. Lynet Ong’era in her remarks, admitted that there has been a challenge to know the exact number of children with disability in Kenya.

“The Government is establishing a data centre where children shall be established at all levels. We are in the process of doing a survey to establish the number of school going children with disability,” said Dr. Lynet.

She said KISE together with the Ministry of Education contacted a survey, establishing that by 2017 11 percent of School going children were with disabilities.

By Fred Azelwa.