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Disability is no restriction to a decent education

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December 4, 1982, the couple Vujicic gave a birth to their firstborn.

"Doctor, my son is without hands?" - "No. Your son has no arms or legs, "- said the doctor. The parents of Nicolas (so-called the newborn baby) had never before heard anything about Tetraameliya syndrome, which leads to a lack of four limbs. They did not know how to handle such a baby and how to take care of him. His mother refused to put him to his chest for about four months.

Over time, the parents of Nick got used to their situation and be able to accept and love his son as he was.

                  

When it is time to go to school, Nick's parents achieved that he studied at usual school with healthy children. So, Nick Vuychich became the first disabled child studying at usual Australian school.

It was very difficult for a Nick, he sharply experienced loneliness and the difference from the whole world, often asked a question of the mission in this world. He had to fight against the despair periods independently. "You are not able to do anything!", "We don't want to be on friendly terms with you!", "You anybody!" – Nick heard these words every day at school. Its focus was displaced: he wasn't proud any more of what he learned; it went in cycles in what will never be able.

Gradually Nick adapted to the situation – he learned to brush teeth, to wash, brush the hair, that is to do all those things, as regular children. In the seventh class of the Nickname chose as the petty officer of school – it worked with student's recommendation on the questions connected with charity and the help to disabled people. After leaving school he decided to continue study and entered Griffith University.

Today Nick has two higher educations: financial accounting and financial planning. He is a successful motivational speaker and the businessman. The nickname plays soccer, tennis, perfectly floats and rides surfing. He is married to the beloved and has two absolutely healthy sons.

            

Nick wrote four best-sellers about the life, about the difficult way and difficulties which he had to face on this way. Nick Vuychich's book "Life without restrictions: Inspiration for absurdly good life" it is translated into 30 languages, and in 2009 he played a leading role in the short film "Circus of Butterflies" - story about finding of meaning of life.

In the world many similar cases when children with limited opportunities in development could adapt successfully in society, get a good education along with healthy kids and conduct full-fledged and active life are known.

For example, Helen Keller after the disease postponed at one-and-a-half-year-old age remained deaf, blind and mute. During long months of hard work the girl has mastered sign language, and then began to learn to speak, having mastered the correct movements of lips and a throat. In 1904 Helen has with honors left Radcliff's college. She has written and has published more than ten books about herself, the feelings, study, outlook and understanding of religion among which "The world in which I live" "Helen Keller's Diary", etc., supported inclusion of deaf, blind and mute persons in active life of society. Helen's history has formed the basis of the well-known play of Gibson "Created a miracle" (1959), picturized in 1962.

Life and activities of such people prove that disability – not a barrier to active, social and public activity. To help children it is rather and it is easier to adapt to society, to overcome the fears and doubts, to realize the opportunities and capabilities, they need to feel since the childhood as full-fledged members of society where they should live, study and work. Coeducation of healthy children and children with the limited opportunities of development (LOD) is the first step to creation of such society.

At the moment in our country there are 141 952 children with limited opportunities aged to 18 years that constitutes 2,8% of total number of the children's population. The statistics notes in Kazakhstan a stable downward tendency of infantile death rate aged till 1 year. So, in 2011 the indicator of child mortality constituted 14,84% that is 1,4 times less in comparison with data of 2008 (20,7%). And this indicator continues to decrease thanks to modern medicine and the last technologies. At the same time, the number of children with OVR in proportion increases and, according to experts, this figure will continue to grow. With respect thereto relevance of a question of effective social adaptation of children with OVR in the general education environment is very high and requires attraction closer attention from our society.

Today in Kazakhstan 36 special kindergartens and 324 special groups, 97 special schools and 1219 special classes at comprehensive schools at which children with the diagnosis of OVR get education and an education function. In comparison with 2011 the number of the special preschool organizations was reduced by 3 units, at the same time the number of special groups at kindergartens of the general type has increased by 45%. It demonstrates that in the country the principle of the maximum integration of children with limited opportunities on general education Wednesday gradually is implemented.

However readiness of society including pedagogical, to such changes remains the most important question of the inclusive "including" education in Kazakhstan still. The main obstacle to full-scale implementation of the "including" education is incorrect idea of society of it. As a rule, such type of "equality" is opposed by parents of regular children who on ignorance are afraid that it negatively will influence development of their children.

Actually inclusion of children with OVR on educational Wednesday with regular children possesses a number of positive sides. First of all, it concerns an opportunity for children with OVR better to adapt in society in which they should live further. Coeducation with regular children gives them an example of standard behavior and independent activity. In turn, communication with children with OVR promotes forming of such merits as tolerance and humanity at the children who don't have deviations in development.

In developed countries of the world inclusive education began to take root in the 1950th years and yielded already the first fruits, not only for society, but also for the state. As show researches, there is an undoubted communication between involvement of people with disabilities in society and an economic situation of the country.

For example, the exception of children with OVR from the educational environment inevitably leads to the low wage potential of these people in the future that is reflected not only in their social position, but also at the level of the economic growth of the country in general. So, "inclusion" of children with special needs in educational process in China led to the wages rise of the population – for 5% in the rural zone and 8% in city. In other words, the children with OVR who got in due time an education in educational institutions on an equal basis with other children could take root successfully into society, find work, earn, pay taxes on an equal basis with other people. It led to growth of economic stability of the country that allowed the state to raise the salary level to the population.

Thus, inclusive education can help to reduce considerably an abyss between the healthy population and physically disabled people not only in the social, but also financial plan. Equal access for the population to education can also have a positive impact on such factors as crime rate, health care, civil consciousness and others. Studying together with ordinary children, children with OVR learn to be open, gain vital skills of communication, interaction with surrounding people. Maximum inclusion of children with OVR in society since small years is the key to confidence that in the future these children will be able to adapt in modern life and to become full-fledged members of society.

Chief Analyst, Department for Programme Monitoring