Department of Special Education Receives Books on Inclusive Education
U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Prof. Tiece Ruffin has on behalf of her family, donated a collection of twenty books to the Special Education Department of University of Education, Winneba (UEW). This special collection of children's literature features children with a variety of disabilities like dyslexia, autism, Down syndrome, learning disability, blindness and deafness amongst others. The donation was done at the Special Education Reading Resource Centre at the South Campus on Tuesday, 24th July, 2018.
The presentation was posthumously done in honor of her mother in-law, Mrs. Rene O. Boakye Boaten. The goal of this initiative is to supply the Special Education Reading Resource Center with books that foster inclusivity, acceptance, and positive attitudes towards students with disabilities in early childhood and basic school levels. Also, the family's commitment is to stock the collection of books to one hundred (100).
Dr. Anthony K. Mensah, speaking on behalf of the Ag. Head of Department for Special Education, Dr. Yao E. Yekple, stated emphatically that, though their Department seeks to take care of children with disabilities, there is the need to have adequate books depicting children with disabilities. He acknowledged the diligence and effectiveness of Prof. T. Ruffin in her work throughout her one year of stay with the Department as a Scholar.
Dr. Anthony K. Mensah and Mrs. Florence Akua Mensah receiving the books on behalf of the Department
In her response, Prof. Ruffin expressed her pleasure in working with the Special Education Department of UEW. According to her, "disability is not inability and therefore she took on such an initiative to empower children with disabilities, create a positive image for them and make them feel recognised". In addition to empowering children with disabilities, the books allow children without disabilities to build positive understandings of disability.
She also indicated that, a lot of attention is given to teachers when it comes to dealing with children with disabilities but her main focus with regard to the donation of the books, is to engage children who will be able to read and understand the true meaning of inclusive education.
Prof. Ruffin added that, the books will help children with or without disabilities to read and learn by themselves. They can also be encouraged and not always have to be told about inclusivity by their teachers. Children's literature specialists have suggested that the use of children's books featuring children with disabilities as the protagonist may result in a more positive attitude on the part of children without disabilities toward their peers with disabilities.
The Collection of Books donated by the Fulbright Scholar
In the concluding remarks, Madam Florence Akua Mensah on behalf of the Department and the Units of the Intellectually Disabled and Interventional Strategies (Reading Resource Centre, Winneba), thanked Prof. Ruffin and her family for their kind gesture.
She promised that the Department will put the books to good use to help preserve the purpose of the donation which is; Promoting Inclusive Education.
The collection of books, which wil promote and foster inclusive education among children in inclusive Basic schools include, Emmanuel's dream: The true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah (Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls), Tom's Special Talent (Kate Gaynor), The Alphabet War (Diane Burton Robb), Andy and his yellow Frisbee (Mary Thompson) and many more.
A group photograph of some members present at the Book Donation
Also in attendance were the family of Prof. Tiece Ruffin and some service persons of the Special Education Department of UEW.
Prof. Tiece Ruffin with her husband Prof. Agya Boakye-Boaten and two sons, Master Barfuo Abayie Boakye-Boaten and Master Agya Boakye-Boaten II