OMOLARA Adedugbe, executive director of the MD Nursery and Primary School, Lagos State, on Monday, September 26, said the school, which started as a school for students with special needs, was founded in the bid to prove that challenged children could also live normal lives.
Adedugbe, who founded the school along with the late Anthony Bamidele Adedugbe, her husband, 30 years ago, said the objective had been achieved though it has been very challenging.
She said the vision of the school was that of her husband, a specialist doctor in dealing with children with disabilities, who wanted to enable parents see that they do not have to keep their children with special needs at home.
Adedugbe, who spoke with newsmen at the 30th anniversary thanksgiving of the school at its Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos State complex, said some of the special needs children have grown to become prominent members of the society, with one teaching in the Special School of MD Nursery and Primary school, having obtained a National Certificate of Education.
She said: “The whole idea was to erase the stigmatisation of being a special child.
“We were the first in Lagos, but after the success we recorded, many others have also followed suit.
“We initially had challenges with parents who had regular children allowing them to mix with the special children.
“I must say the journey in 30 years has been challenging, but with lots of successes.
“One special child is now a teacher in the school here.
“So also are the regular children also doing well.
“Many are professionals in different fields.”
Adedugbe advised parents with special children not to lock them up at home but give them the opportunity to develop their God-given talents, adding: “If they mix with regular kids, they will overcome their challenges.
“We are happy that a lot of parents are now coming out with their special children.
“And those with regular children have seen that being a special child does not come with anything contagious.”
Adedugbe said structures had been put in place for the sustenance of the initiative.
She said for the school to be thriving after the death of her husband showed that structures have been created.
She said: “With or without me, the school can go on. The vision now being run by others. I started the school with my husband who had the vision.
“He died 10 years ago and 20 years after, we are still standing.”
— Sep 26, 2016 @ 18:30 GMT