YOGYAKARTA – SDN Giwangan primary school is one of the schools in Yogyakarta that has been providing inclusive education for the longest time. This school is a partner of the State University of Yogyakarta (UNY) and part of the USAID PRIORITAS partnership program aiming to improve the quality of the partner schools of Teacher Training Institutions (TTIs). The school has 19 students with special needs and disabilities spread across all grades.
"Most of the special needs students in this school have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or autism," said Jubaidi, the school principal.
The teachers have received training from USAID PRIORITAS to manage teaching and learning processes that address the individual needs of students and the implementation of active learning.
There are currently eight special needs support teachers, one funded by the Yogyakarta Provincial Education Office, two by the City of Yogyakarta, and five by parents who are able to afford it. The school also has an inclusive forum for parents of special needs students, where they meet regularly to discuss the school management and the constraints in the inclusive education management.
These are some strategies applied by the school in facilitating learning for special needs students, particularly those involving cooperation between support teachers, classroom teachers and parents:
- Integration: special needs and non-special needs students study together in the same classroom.
- Support teachers help special needs students in the ordinary classroom so they can study and are comfortable alongside non-special needs students and vice versa.
- Every Friday and Saturday, special needs students study in a special inclusive education room to assess their development.
- The school brings in an educational psychologist every Thursday to carry out therapy if any special needs students need it.
- The support teachers meet regularly to share experiences in helping special needs students.
- These support teachers draw up individual learning programs for each special needs student based on an assessment of competence which is submitted to the classroom teacher. These programs are sent to the District Office of Education and Sport (Dikpora) for input.
- The school principal, class teachers, and support teachers meet annually to evaluate the special needs programs, and to review progress and problems encountered.
- The support teachers receive a monthly honorarium from the school and/or the local education office.
- Parents can communicate directly with the support teachers to learn about the children’s progress and problems.
The evaluation processes for special needs students is conducted in the following manner: (1) support teachers collaborate with class teachers to set tasks together; (2) special needs students who have no support teacher are evaluated directly by class teachers; (3) the mid- and end-of-semester exams are submitted to the support teachers; (4) for special needs students with intellectual disabilities, impaired vision, and autism, exam questions are prepared specially by the support teachers. (Wsa)