Learning disabilities in Africa

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In Uganda(Africa generally),people with learning disabilities especially children tend to be ignored by our education system. Ugandan traditional education system is a kind of a fit in or fit out education system. Its wholly based on academics and never looks at other extra co-circular activities. I went through the system with no difficulty well but unfortunately my little brother had it rough.

My family only realised my brother was dyslexic after he had been to two primary schools. At the end of every academic year ,he was asked not return to the school. This became frustrating for my family since there were no answer to why he was failing. A few months later(after seeing the one specialist in the entire Uganda),my brother was diagnosed with acute dyslexia. My family was so disheartened because all they could see was “disability”. After the test, finding a school for a dyslexic child was a mission! Almost every school in Uganda had never heard of dyslexia or for that matter “learning disability”. Finally we did find my brother a school however there were so many kids with a variety of learning disabilities(very different ones) and one teacher to teach them all. This didn’t work well for my brother because he never got help he needed. He spent 4 years in that school.

Besides academics, my brother also struggled socially, always failing to express himself amongst his peers .He always gets teased for being “stupid”. However with all this adversity, my brother makes the best of this disability. He is an amazing artist. His first pictures were of  “Ben 10” his favourite cartoon on t.v ,now he’s draws all sorts of his objects around home in his free time(including me J). Even though he fails at school, he never gives up and always tries harder. Plus he always knows he gave it his best shot.

Many families in Uganda would view this a curse or gone case (as many have said) but I see as it  a my little  blessing. My little brother is my inspiration since I was 14 till now. He always makes me view  life from outside the box. He’s always putting himself out there even though the results might be negative. He makes different seem cool(wish I was half the artist he was).

I know in Uganda with the ongoing corruption, there is barely enough money that goes into our education sector so I don’t expect them to allocate any resources to children with learning disabilities anytime soon. I also know there many families in Africa struggling with children with learning disabilities and every child different from the next. I hope those families  try  and see the bright sides even though there’s many downsides.

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