Forging career pathways for learners diagnosed with special needs

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Forging paths to meaningful partnerships.


“While a small number of children living with disabilities successfully pass their secondary school, many adolescents and young adults with disabilities stay at home after completing compulsory education, and many lack basic life skills.” This is the sad reality depicted by Mr Thandabantu August, the second Deputy President of the South African National Association for Special Education (SANASE).

Mr August was speaking during a stakeholder engagement workshop hosted at the University of Fort Hare where Prof Lauran Lindstrom from the University of California, Davis and Prof Professor Maximus Sefotho from the University of Johannesburg shared their current project that focuses on building capacity for schools and communities to support young people with disabilities in the transition from school to inclusive employment.

According to Prof Lindstrom, the purpose of the workshops and focus groups is to engage professionals, parents, policymakers, and young people with disabilities in a discussion of the current status and ongoing needs regarding career transitions. “The overall goal is to find space where opportunities can be created for these young people to live productive and meaningful lives,” she said.

Stakeholders present included the University’s Faculty of Education; Faculty of Health Sciences; the Office of International Affairs & Partnerships, the Eastern Cape Department of Education (including staff from Special Needs Schools) and SANASE.

During the session, robust and meaningful discussions ensued with speakers indicating a dire need to forge collaborations to change the narrative depicted by August.

Tomorrow, the stakeholders will visit College Street Primary, a special needs school in East London for further engagement with teachers, support staff, and parents.