US school for blind aims to train 1 mln teachers for disabled children

Over 90 percent of visually impaired children who also have other disabilities do not get an education, says Perkins School for the Blind

A male teacher sits knee-to-knee exchanging tactile hand sign language with a young boy in an adaptive chair.

A classroom teacher uses the skills he gained during the Perkins International Academy pilot in Argentina to communicate with his students.

June 14, 2017

TEPIC, Mexico, June 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A U.S. school for the blind plans to train 1 million teachers around the world by 2030 to educate the 6 million visually impaired children who also have other disabilities, to increase their chances of living independently and finding jobs.

The Perkins School for the Blind aims to work with governments to train specialist teachers who can meet the complex needs of these children and young adults. Many lack educational opportunities and are often left at home, or put into orphanages and care facilities in poorer countries.

"This is one of the most vulnerable populations in the world," said Dave Power, chief executive of the Massachusetts-based school, which taught deaf and blind writer Helen Keller.

"More than 90 percent of these children do not get an education - either because they don't have the right to an education, or the school system they're in doesn't know how to teach them and reach them," he said by telephone.

The school recently piloted its teacher training programme in Argentina and India. It can be adapted to different languages and cultures, although the multi-sensory core curriculum for children who are blind, or deaf and blind works globally.

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