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Blind children need to grow up as integrated members of their communities but they also need the experience of having peers they can identify with, and of developing the special skills they will need as adults such as Braille reading, computer use, and independent travel. I have been blind since birth and attended a residential school for the blind. Although I received an outstanding education and learnt to be very independent there, being institutionalized robbed me of a normal family life, placed me in an abusive environment, and made me very lacking in confidence around sighted people. On the other hand I know many other blind adults who attended mainstream schools who are functionally illiterate and lack basic living skills.
I think that rather than closing the school for the Blind, the state should restructure it so that it can jointly educate blind children with schools in their local communities. Such a partnership would mainstream blind children but also have them attend the school for the blind periodically to receive specialist training. As well as educating children, the school for the blind could also educate the staff of local schools and provide them with training, resources and equipment.
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
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