Equipping Parents to Manage Learning Disabilities in Children through the Nyansapo Scholarship Programme
When it comes to academic performance, almost every parent expects their child to hit the mark. In Ghanaian schools especially, children are rarely critically examined by their teachers or parents to find out if there are any special reasons why they fail. In order to help parents and teachers to actively understand the nuances of their ward’s academic performance, United Way Ghana in partnership with the Special Attention Project focused the 13th Nyansapo Scholarship Programme on creating awareness and engaging stakeholders on learning disabilities in Akropong on Friday, November 9.
Learning disabilities are neurological disorders that affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, analyze and store information. According to the literacy development organization All Children Reading, more than 80 percent of about 150 million children with learning disabilities are in developing countries. Many of these children are prone to not fully reaching their potential because of general lack of awareness and recognition for learning difficulties as well as the absence of appropriate interventions to manage them. For underperforming students, their self-esteem and confidence decline when compared to others achieving better grades.
“My son is in JHS 3 and a beneficiary of the Nyansapo Scholarship Scheme. Anytime he returns home from school, I always ask about his test results. I hardly enquire about his academic progress. As a mother, all I expect are good results,” said Hannah Amoh during the discussion.
Hannah’s thoughts represent the thinking of many parents who fail to appropriately interact with their wards on their performance in school and challenges they face with studies. In fact, very few of them know their ward’s teachers or make an attempt to strike a healthy relationship with them to track their child’s academic participation.
The discussion brought together community stakeholders and resource persons on learning disabilities to discuss ways to identify learning challenges in children and how to support them in such situations. As part of the annual programme, United Way Ghana absolved the PTA and exam levies of sixty-one (61) beneficiaries as well as distributed packs of essential school supplies and learning kits including new school bags, uniforms, story books, exercise & note books, mathematical sets, pens and pencils. Beneficiaries of the scholarship programme are selected based on school attendance, performance and financial need from the communities in Akropong.
Acting director of United Way Ghana, Janet Butler, maintained that quality education was the mainstay of the organization and they were ready to support children to attain their highest potential. “So far, more than 400 children have benefited from this annual scholarship program. We will continue to support children with financial aid, learning materials, school bags and uniforms as well as conduct essential sensitization campaigns for beneficiaries, teachers and parents on quality education.”
The Nyansapo Scholarship Programme forms part of United Way Ghana’s Improving Basic Education (IBE) programme and has been in existence for 13 years to promote quality education in vulnerable communities through educational scholarships and access to learning materials & school supplies. Nyansapo is financially supported by a United Way Worldwide grant on behalf of the generosity of Norma, Laurie and Richard Reidman.
For Hannah, the education on learning disabilities is a life-changing experience, and one that every parent needs to help build a better future for their child. “The training was very educative. I can now begin to identify my child's learning needs and control my reaction to their academic performance to make them comfortable enough to open up about their learning challenges,” Hannah said.