Abuse awareness education for special needs persons
(GIS) – The Special Education Unit within the Department of Education is raising awareness of the abuse suffered by those with special needs within society.
Dale St. Juste, Education Officer within the Special Education Unit said studies show that those suffering from disabilities are more likely to be subjected to abuse.
“There are multiple research works that have been done that have established that children with special needs, infact, people with disabilities in general seem to be more susceptible to all forms of maltreatment. We are talking about abuse, bullying, violence, all of these for many reasons but generally not just in Saint Lucia,” he said. “If a person has a disability they are more likely to be ridiculed, they are more likely to be teased, they are more likely to be taken advantage of.”
The Education Officer went on to state that recognition of the warning signs of abuse are key in coming to the aid of those being abused, but this sometimes proves difficult especially when dealing with those who are unable to communicate using the usual channels.
“Education is and continues to be one of the most significant resouces that we can give to children with special needs. They can be taught in nearly every case to indicate that something has happened or something has been said to them or something has been done to them. They need to be trained to respond in a certain way to indicate that there is an experience that is happeneing to them that they do not like and that they can indicate that that has to stop or they can find a suitable adult that they can report these experiences to. So the education of these children is important.
“Some of them may not be able to verbalise their experiences but there is always some telltale signs. Sometimes it is in the reaction, in the irritability of the child and the persons who are caring for them should be able to look out for these signs and detect that something is different from before.”