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Dec 10, 1998

Special Education Unit holds first conference

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Educators often hold workshops to discuss curriculum and other topics, but this week the Special Education Unit is holding its first conference to discuss how schools can assist them in their work with special needs children. News Five was there.

Dativa Martinez, Coordinator Special Education Unit

“We coordinate, supervise and monitor educational services with children with special needs countrywide. By special needs I mean be it sensory disabilities in mental, intellectual, behavioral and emotional or physical needs. There are also health disorders that are now classified as special education needs.”

The Special Education Unit was first established by the Ministry of Education in January, 1991. The unit presently monitors the activities of one school and four special education centers throughout Belize. Children are now graded on a special grading grid.

Dativa Martinez

“If he is eight and in infant two he falls in the area where we would say he will be at risk of achieving below his level. If he’s eight and in infant one he falls in this red category then he falls two grade levels below. In other words the blue is the section where we want them to be. The green section we are concerned about because they are the children at risk. The red is with children that have definitely fallen. We are also concerned about children that are gifted and talented so that those needs can be addressed. So this grid tells us a lot. We use it as a quick screening.”

The Special Education Unit survey seems to indicate that with many drop outs and children repeating the establishment of a Special Education Unit was well-timed if not, in fact, long overdue. Hyacinth Latchman for News Five.

The conference is being held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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