Girl children with learning difficulties need support say experts

By Sethulo Moyo

Bulawayo Mayor Mr Solomon Mguni has urged teachers and parents to encourage the girl child in classroom setup and at home.

Speaking at a Programme for Learning Difficulties Conference hosted by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in partnership with Baobab Educational Assessment Centre (BEAC) which took place at Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Mr Mguni commended school teachers to take good care of young girls and to support them in their learning environment 

“School teachers should encourage the girl child at school and parents at home should play the same role so that our girls get the education they need”, said Mguni. 

He also added that teachers and the community should not forget child headed families and children with difficulties who may lack the right tools for their education. 

Addressing delegates during the conference Dr Themba Nyoni from BEAC who is a Remedial Specialist said there are many children who are hidden in communities with difficulties, saying if proper awareness is conducted many children will be assisted. 

Amakhosikazi Media spoke to Mrs Pamela Chirwa a parent who endured the pain of raising a girl child with a learning difficulty who said that raising a child with a learning difficulty is a great challenge.

“Accepting that my daughter has a learning difficulty was one of the hardest things l had to do and the realisation that some of the dreams l had for my child might never be achieved was overwhelming. However, this assisted me to manage my expectations concerning my daughter’s academic performance and l think it also relieved her of some of the pressure she was under”, said Mrs Chirwa.

She also said that instead of her focusing attention on her emotions, she spent most of her time reading and educating herself on learning difficulties and this helped her to step up and take the time to teach her daughter about her condition and tell her that she should not blame herself or think that she is a loser. 

Asked what advise she can give to parents with children with the same condition as hers, she said parents should learn to accept their children as they are.

“All l can say to other parents raising girl children with learning difficulties is that they should try to help them build their confidence and to believe in themselves”, said Chirwa

She also added that as parents’ children look up to them to protect and assure them that having a learning difficulty does not mean that they are lesser of a human being.

“We should strive to raise independent girl children to know their place in the world, educate them on all forms of abuse because an informed girl child will always make better choices”, she said.

 Samukeliso Khumalo the Director for WILD said that they organised this event to find ways on how they can assist children with learning difficulties.

“Children with learning difficulties need our encouragement, positive reinforcement, confidence building, material and emotional support as well as an enabling policy that makes all these things possible. We expect to identify, assistive technologies for people with learning difficulties and to learn strategies to teach students with learning difficulties." Said Khumalo.