This course is about caring for and educating children (and youth) with severe to profound intellectual disability. We use the idea of ‘circles’ to position the child at the center of the many levels of support needed. Around the child are circles of care and education – such as the parents, family, friends, caregivers, educators, health care workers and others such as neighbors, business owners and community members. Each one has an important role to play in the life of a person with an intellectual disability and can be seen as a caregiver and educator. Although this course is aimed particularly at caregivers who work at a special centre or in a private home, each person in the circle of care and education plays a valuable role and will find the course useful.
During the course you can gain greater understanding about intellectual disability, levels of severity of intellectual disability and the history of intellectual disability. You will also start to understand how you can support children and youth with severe to profound intellectual disability so that they can reach their full potential and become participating members of society. We look at lifelong learning by exploring brain development, the learning process and how to maximise the opportunities for learning.
With input from a range of experts, we consider how best learning can be facilitated. This includes looking at children’s learning support needs, how to go about planning activities for the learning programme as well as how to empower multiple people who work in a team to care and educate children with severe to profound intellectual disability.
In the last week, we focus on rights, advocacy and relationships of care. Empowering and caring for caregivers themselves is a key focus of the course.
For professional development purposes, you can purchase a Verified Certificate if you wish to show evidence of your achievements, but this is optional, and you can apply for Financial Aid if you are unable to pay the certificate fee.
Who is the child with severe to profound intellectual disability?
This week focuses on understanding the child (or person) with severe to profound intellectual disability. We will look at the definitions and terms related to intellectual disability and provide an overview of the history of intellectual disability. We will also explore how the needs and rights of children with severe to profound intellectual disability can be supported, with a particular emphasis on their right to education. We invite you to comment in the discussion forum, check your knowledge in the practice quizzes and take the graded quiz at the end of the week.
Lifelong learning is an approach that views everyday living as providing children with severe to profound intellectual disability opportunities to learn. With input from several experts, we'll explore how children with severe to profound intellectual disability can learn with appropriate support, what can be done to best facilitate the learning process and the importance of the learning environment. Attitudes and communication are highlighted as being central to creating effective environments for learning. Researchers also report on their findings from a local study on intellectual disability and life long learning in South Africa. At the end of this week, there are additional readings, a forum for discussion and a graded quiz.
This week we look at the learning support needs of children with severe to profound intellectual disability. We consider how to set up learning programmes and integrate different skills and activities. We look at how to change or adapt these programmes to meet the specific needs of mixed groups of children and those in different stages of learning. We also explore the role of structure and routine in creating effective learning environments. Lastly, we look at empowering the caring team, to support the development of children with severe to profound intellectual disability. At the end of this week, you will be asked to critically evaluate a learning programme and review the assignment of peers.
Rights, advocacy and relationships of care
This final week focuses on the relationships of care. We explore ways of giving agency to children with severe to profound intellectual disability who have been central to advocacy campaigns for their full inclusion in society. We also hear from caregivers who are, in many cases the key advocates for persons with intellectual disability. The circle of care for the caregiver is discussed, highlighting how they too need to be cared for and empowered. At the end of this week, there is a graded quiz. You may also choose to do the optional Honors Peer Review assignment.