Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Gauteng Classrooms
At an informative conference on ‘Disability and Transitions in the Global South,’ hosted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Johannesburg on 4 September 2017, sensitive issues around disability in society were raised. Jane Opara (a Masters student in inclusive education student) and Dr Jean Fourie presented results of an investigation into teachers’ perceptions of the most prevalent neuro-developmental symptom clusters they encounter in Gauteng classrooms. From a questionnaire answered by a hundred newly qualified teachers who had been trained in identifying clusters of symptoms, 95% indicated that they had learners in their classrooms presenting with learning, reading, writing, and maths difficulties. Teachers also reported there were learners who had difficulty attending and concentrating to schoolwork. There were some learners who presented with mild autistic and intellectual disability indicators and associated behavioural challenges. Implications for incorporating more practical everyday realities into initial teacher training programmes were explored.