But somehow, I did not get near my laptop until night time. It was such an active day for me, as I had an opportunity to attend an event for teachers.
October 5 2016 did not just give me a reason to celebrate, it raised questions in my heart. How far have we come in building and equipping children with autism and other special needs conditions? How many teachers can work with these children? How many people are willing to work with them? How available and affordable are trainings in Nigeria for people interested in working with these children? (I know how much I have spent on getting trained. And there's still so much to spend). What does the future hold for the person interested in teaching these children, either in a mainstream school or in a special school?
Yesterday, I also met a Disability Advocate, the founder of Benola (a Cerebral Palsy Initiative), AVM Femi Gbadebo. Yesterday was also World Cerebral Palsy Day, so talking about CP in relations to Education also raised concerns on how can we get people who are first of all willing to teach children with CP and other disorders?
I cannot imagine where my life would be now if there were no teachers. I cannot remember the teachers that taught me in Nursery class, and I remember faintly those that taught me in Early Primary. I think the only ones I remember from Primary School are the people that taught me from Primary 3 upwards, but I am so sure that I would not be where I am today if all those people did not teach me. How would my life have turned out if nobody was willing to work in a school?
Maybe I will not feel like I was missing anything, but I definitely will not be where I an today; and I am grateful for where I am today.
What is the essence of my long speech? (You ask). First of all I celebrate teachers that are giving their time to train children with special needs. Secondly, I hope that celebrating World Teachers Day will not just be about celebrating the people that taught us, but also encourage people to show interest in the education of the next generation. The next generation includes children with special needs; autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, visual impairment, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, and many more. I pray that more people will become willing to teach these children with special needs in Nigeria.
Although this is belated, allow me to say Happy Belated Teachers Day to all teachers that work with children with special needs and all who will be inspired by our work to get involved and join us in teaching these wonderful children.