By Gabriel Dike
The chief executive officer (CEO) of Greensprings School, Lekki, Lagos, Mrs. Lai Koiki, has said children with special needs require support and encouragement, not sympathy, from education stakeholders and individuals.
According to her, special needs kids are like normal children and parents should not to lock them indoors but seek help from experts or take the children to schools equipped to handle their situation.
Koiki, who disclosed this at the recent Anthos House exhibition, titled “Anthos Treasurer Arts and Craft,” said special needs pupils of Greensprings School produced the artworks, jewellery and furniture on display from recycled waste materials.
“At this exhibition, we are showcasing the artworks of our special needs children. They are special, able kids and they have gone beyond their disability to produce good artworks. The children are proud of their artworks. The school will continue to support and encourage them.
“Some years back, parents locked kids with special needs in the rooms. Greensprings School established Anthos House to cater for such kids. We have been handling special needs children for over 30 years. We have 41 kids and 18 teachers trained to handle such kids and they are bringing out the best in them,” Koiki said.
She disclosed that the next phase of promoting the skills of the special needs children was certification, stating, “We would like to run a skill programme. We will give them certificates after the training. Government and companies need to hire them to support and encourage them.
Head of school, Anthos House, Dr. Kimberley Scollard, said the artworks, jewellery, paintings and drawings were produced by the kids from the school.
She disclosed that, by the maiden exhibition, Anthos House aimed to launch the kids into the world of art and business and promote their creative ability to produce good artworks.
Scollard said teachers of Anthos House managed the special needs kids the same way the regular pupils are handled, noting “we teach them strategy of how to do things on their own.”
The vocational skills and therapist teacher, Mr. Moses Nwosisi, said he has been teaching kids with special needs for over 14 years and confirmed that Anthos House pupils made the artworks, paintings drawings and jewellery on display.
Nwosisi said he taught the kids how to use recycled waste materials to produce the exhibited works, stating “they turned waste to wealth.”
Said he: “It has not been easy working with special needs kids. But it is great when I see smiles on their faces when they make any artwork. I want to use art, craft and vocational skills to give them the opportunity to excel in life. I expect government and organizations to key into this. We need more support.”
A participant at the exhibition, Annalisa Bicknell, said she was impressed by the artworks on display, adding, “I am not disappointed with what I have seen on display. The kids have done wonderful well.’’
Bicknell said people were created differently and she appreciates Nigerian artworks. She commended the school for getting the best out of the special needs kids to make the different works on display.