Saturday, 30 March 2013

Every Child Deserves a Chance to Play...

Has anyone noticed how children with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often neglected in the design of our public recreational and entertainment places? April is World Autism Awareness Month. How can we include children with autism and other disabilities in our daily recreational and entertainment activities? Please share your thoughts....let's give them a chance...

Monday, 25 March 2013

Knowledge of Today:

Occupational Therapy (OT) - is a type of health-care treatment designed to improve self-help skills and adaptive behaviour for people who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmental or emotionally disabling. Services typically include customized treatment programs aimed at improving abilities to carry out the activities of daily living; evaluation of home and job environments and recommendations on adaptation; recommendations and training in the use of adaptive equipment; and/or guidance to family members and caregivers.

Source: Mayo School of Health Sciences (

Categories of Disabilities

   Many disabilities exist in humans. Some disabilities occur with a relatively high frequency and are known as high incidence disabilities because they are among the most common. Examples of high incidence disabilities include learning disabilities, communication (speech and language) disorders, emotional disturbance and mild intellectual disabilities.

   Another category of disabilities known as low incidence disabilities include low vision and blindness, deafness, deaf-blindness, and severe intellectual disabilities. Disabilities in this category have relatively low rate occurrence.

   It is important to note that while the rates of occurrence of some low-incidence categories have increased dramatically, some high incidence disabilities have remained relatively stable in the last few decades. For example, autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder has been observed to be on the increase since the mid-1990s. This has been attributed to improved identification procedures, however, this does not imply that autism has become an epidemic.

Hallahan, D.P.., Kauffman, J.M., & Pullen, P.C. (2012). Exceptional learners: An introduction to special education. (Ed.12). Pearson.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day!

"In working life, stereotypes against persons with Down syndrome often mean they are denied vocational training opportunities and their right to work. In the political and public sphere, persons with Down syndrome and other persons with intellectual disabilities are often deprived of their right to vote and fully participate in the democratic process."

                                                             ~United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

"He [Jesus] said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind - [people with special needs]..." Luke 14:12-13 (ESV - emphasis mine)

People with special needs need your attention and care today....What can you do?

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Emmanuel Igoniwari Foundation Autism Awareness Seminar

The Emmanuel Igoniwari Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation in Nigeria, recently organised a seminar/lecture on Autism Awareness. The event was held in Abuja on 23 February 2013. I was privileged to be one of the speakers and my topic was: An Introduction to Special Needs - A Brief on Autism. 

Some of the audience actually had either a child or a relative living with Autism, but my attention was drawn to the keen interest exhibited by the attendees in general.  I was very delighted that my answers to some of their questions gave them renewed hope and even inspired others to seek to know more about Autism and other special needs that people cope with.

Here are some photographs from the event:

This is me while delivering my lecture.
A cross-section of the attendees.

During the Question and Answer session.

Further clarifications and counseling after the seminar.

From L-R: Adelola Edema (a fellow guest speaker), David Igoniwari (main organizer) and Me.

A photo-shot with Adelola, David and some of the organizers.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

"Only the brave dare look upon the gray 
Upon the things which cannot be explained easily,
Upon the things which often engender mistakes,
Upon the things whose cause cannot be understood,
Upon the things we must accept and live with.
...And therefore only the brave dare look upon difference without flinching..."

~Richard H. Hungerford 

Monday, 11 March 2013

 Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (John 9:3 NIV)

Children with 'special needs' need your care and support - not your social stigma!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Exceptionalities and Special Education

It’s amazing how misconceptions shape our thoughts and perspectives. A study of human exceptionalities brought me to terms with several misconceptions I had about the subject of ‘disability’ or ‘exceptional learners.’ Exceptional learners are those who require special education and related services in order to realize their full human potential (Kauffman & Hallahan, 2005a). Due to the diversity of disabilities and the need for special education for these individuals, they would require instructions that differ from what most typical or average learners require (Hallahan, Kauffman, & Pullen, 2012).  Individuals with disabilities must be seen as having many other abilities and the exceptional learner differs in some way from the average learner (Hallahan, et al., 2012).

          Hallahan, et al., (2012) highlights the fact that professionals are presently unable to identify the exact reason why a person is exceptional but are making progress in determining the causes of some disabilities. However, there is reason to be optimistic because scientific advances, medical breakthroughs and ongoing research is giving more insight into how an individual’s psychological, social and educational environments relate to learning (Hallahan, et al., 2012). This case for optimism gives rise to the hope that many of the disabling forms of exceptionality will eventually be eradicated. As a special education professional, I believe we must not allow people’s disabilities to keep us from recognising their abilities or to become so much the focus of our concern that we overlook their capabilities.

          Although a disability is a type of inability, but it may not always be a handicap. All disability are an inability to do something, but not every inability to do something is a disability. Consequently, disability could just be a significant difference from what we expect most people to be able to do, given their age, opportunities, and instruction (Hallahan, et al., 2012). I also believe that people could be easily shaped by the way they are nurtured, or by the nature of their society or environment.

          What bothers my mind however is how sometimes, disabilities could be identified but special education is not provided therefore causing opportunities for the child’s development to be squandered. In my view, this appears to be the unfortunate situation in many developing nations including my country, Nigeria.

          Hallahan, et al., (2012) noted that “the best general education cannot replace special education” due to the range of disabilities (p.10). This gives most special educators a huge sense of responsibility. It’s however, sad that there have always been exceptional learners, but there haven’t always been enough special education services to address their needs. One can only imagine the kinds of traumatic experiences of people with disabilities in developing countries, especially children in this category.

          Fortunately, some factors have influenced the needed attention towards disabilities. These factors include people and ideas, growth of the discipline, professional and parent organisations, and legislation. I think the legislation found in different countries, (for example, the United States Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and American with Disabilities Act (ADA)) gives a level of hope to individuals with disabilities. However, they can only be effective if they are often reviewed. Also, countries, particularly in the developing world which are yet to adopt and implement legislation for people with disabilities need to do so in order to protect their future and guarantee a full, happy and productive life for them.


Hallahan, D.P.., Kauffman, J.M., & Pullen, P.C. (2012). Exceptional learners: An introduction to special education. (Ed.12). Pearson.

Kauffman, J.M., & Hallahan, D.P. (2005a). Special education: What it is and why we need it. Boston: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson.

Friday, 8 March 2013


I was born and raised in Lagos State, Nigeria. I graduated from the University of Lagos in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. 

I am passionate about educating young people  and being a positive role model to them. I had the opportunity of working as a nursery school teaching assistant in Nigeria. Also, having twin nephews living with Autism inspired me to pursue my current Special Education program. My experience studying at Meredith College further created in me the desire to help in increasing the capacity of individuals and empowering them to see opportunities through the means of education. 

While studying at Meredith College, I was able to observe and teach exceptional learners from diverse backgrounds in K-12  classrooms. During my internship, I taught in  a cross categorical (ID MILD 2) self contained classroom (3rd - 5th grade) at Penny Road Elementary School, Cary, NC.  My experiences at that school and in my program are immeasurable.

As a certified special educator, I aspire to always help students reach their potentials by providing a conducive learning environment for them.  I believe that through education, children can grow into respectable citizens of society who have respect for all things and all people. Consequently, I make every effort to focus my curriculum around students' interests to encourage and inspire their passion to learn and to participate actively in the classroom.

For more on my teaching experiences please click on the links on the navigation bar on the right side of this blog.

Welcome to my Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP) blog!  I am a certified Special Education Teacher. I love being a professional educator and I teach with passion and excellence because I believe that sound education shapes the future and creates opportunities for individuals.

This blog is part of my program of creating global awareness on issues concerning individuals with special needs. Please feel free to take a tour of the blog, and I'll be glad to get feedback from you, thanks.  My contact information is as shown below:

Omolola Aneke ( Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education)

Address (USA): c/o Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5298.

Address (Nigeria): All About Kids, 10b Owena Close, Off  Yedseram  Street,  Maitama, Abuja.