Islamabad - Parents of special children on Monday said the children with learning disability should be given support by the educational system and the wider community for their mainstreaming into society.

The views were expressed at the Open Day held for parents at the Centre for Profound Education, Rawalpindi, that caters to the educational need of slow-learning and autistic children.

The parents stressed that rights of such children should be no different than normal children and called for the need of quality education, equal life chances and opportunities for their future.

Saleem Ahmed, the father of a six-year-old son having learning disability, said the country’s educational system was unfortunately ill-prepared to properly support children and young adults with a learning disability.

He expressed satisfaction over the efforts of Centre for Profound Education to help reintegrate the children into system and also extend psychological support to parents and families who otherwise suffer in silence.

Another parent, Madiha Hassan, the mother of a seven-year-old daughter, indicated that mainstream schools in the city were failing to help slow-learning children reach their full potential. She said CPE was positively contributing to progress and development of her autistic daughter and appreciated the compassion and determination of teachers towards special children. Principal of CPE, Samina Iqbal said unique of its kind, the school was providing a healthy and innovatively nourishing environment to the special children. She said it was the collective social responsibility of people to open and run facilities like this in other areas as well.

Iram Shah, a psychologist at Civil Services Academy appreciated CPE for proving as a facility for slow learners and autistic children with such limited human and material resources, yet being run effectively.  Programme Coordinator Sana Malik stressed that there was a dire need to facilitate the growth and expansion of the Centre so that it could accommodate many more students who were on the waiting list.

Dr Shakil Malik, who is a senior clinical director and consultant psychiatrist at Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, United Kingdom, visited the school as part of providing continued professional support by Innovative Medical and Development Services, UK.