Judith McKenzie

Judith McKenzie

Judith is a lecturer and researcher in Disability Studies at the University of Cape Town. She has worked in rural areas focusing particularly on community based and interdisciplinary projects.

Location South Africa


  • an open minded approach such as yours is a good place to start.

  • Hi Sandy- it seems that there is a problem of awareness where you are. I hope that during this course you will learn how to forge links with the community and with parents. In the mean time i would encourage you to think about why parents seem to be in denial and how this might be addressed.

  • Welcome every body. As participants you are an equally important part of the course as the educators. I would encourage you to share with each other and learn how other people do things as well. enjoy the

  • We are developing teacher education programmes at University of Cape Town. Maybe you have additional points that you would like to share with us Andrea that we could helpfully include in these prgorammes.

  • Hi Neelam - sadly it is not always the case that teachers in special schools are trained for the work. There needs to be much better training to work with children with disabilities in both regular and special schools.

  • This is a good question as it does not mean the same to everyone. I like your definition though - you place the emphasis clearly on the educators and the education system rather than just on the child with "special needs"

  • Very true, Andrea. Self-esteem amongst people with intellectual disability is such a problem. It sounds as though your programme might have something to share with others. Have you ever thought of explaining how these children feel to their teachers?

  • Hi Anatoly I think there are many advantages to inlcusive classrooms but it is important that children are getting the right kind of support so that they can reach their learning potential whatever that might be. So there is always that balance that the teacher has to achieve and it is a challenge but it can be done.

  • Thanks James for these encouraging words at the outset.

  • Hi Kagiso - you are right. If children are not adequately supported in primary school they may never make it into high school at all. i hope this course helps you to address these barriers.

  • Hi Mickey good to have the sciences in here as well. Children who are blind or deaf often have difficulty in getting access to STEM subjects.

  • Hello all. I am so excited to see all the newcomers on this course and i wish you all the best as you come on this journey with us. Please feel free to comment and to share ideas. you will find that you learn so much from others and it is very interesting to hear from people with the same interests all over the world. I think i have dealt with exclusion a lot...

  • Thanks to these remarkable people for sharing. What a diverse world we live in- we should be learning from this rather than putting more obstacles in the way.

  • Hi Louise I think that there is something to be learne from our own experiences of exclusion and to consider how these painful experiences can help us to understand others and make their lives better.

  • So it is not only about disability but about treating every person with respect and giving them the chances to learn and develop.

  • Go Ciska go! We look forward to your contributions.

  • There you go! Bullying again - what can we do to overcome this and to instill respect for each and every person?

  • It sounds like you have been the victim of bullying by people who fear something that is different to what the social norms dictate. Children with disabilities have this problem but it extends so much further. Thanks for sharing your experience and the fact that you have overcome this negativity.

  • We look forward to your contributions and hope that we can offer something useful to you as well.

  • I agree that inclusion is not just about resources but about something more fundamental.
    How do we value human beings and make this not a patchy thing dependent on the goodwill of a few dedicated individuals but rather a way in which we conduct ourselves within educational and other contexts?

  • Hi Julia I hope that we can meet your expectations and I know that we will also be able to learn from your experience. It s great to have you on the course.

  • It seems as though everyone is learning a lot from each other's assignments as well as the feedback on their own. I would like to challenge you to think about how one could use this peer review process within schools to promote good inclusive practice amongst teachers. Any thoughts on this?

  • Have a look at CBR manuals from the World Health Organisqtion and you will get some ideas on training - maybe you can start something in Uruguay.

  • Hi Katja - Louisa works under supervision of a therapist. This extends the reach of therapist in a process of task shifting. The CBR practitioner helps with basic tasks under supervision. This is an important strategy in a country where we do not have enough therapists.

  • This sounds like a wonderful resource. These families are fortunate to have such a service available to them. I would be interested to know where the children go when they finish at school and whether they participate in any community activities

  • I think you express the point very well, Maria. It all depends - it is not just the disability that determines what a child is able or not able to do but rather the whole context in which they live and other important aspects of their lives.

  • There are many different reasons for exclusion as you point out and we need to look at all marginalized groups to make real inclusion happen.

  • This shows that inclusion is not just a classroom issue and needs to be considered across all educational environments - glad that you can join us and possibly make museums more accessible to all.

  • Hi Paula. Angelica told me you would be on the course so it is very nice to meet you. It is great that you come from the arts and teaching dancing. Sometimes we get so focused on academics that we forget the holistic needs of the child. Also it can be therapeutic to express oneself through the arts.

  • This very interesting Veronica. These children are so often neglected in education so it is great to hear of the work that you are doing. I would love to hear more about this.

  • Thanks for pointing this out. The peer group is very important in inclusion and teachers need to set an example on how to welcome children with disabilities into the school and classrooms.

  • It is very interesting to meet you all. I hope that you will enjoy the course and that you will interact and discuss with each other. I think you can see that there are so many different experiences that people have had with inclusion and we can learn from each other.

  • Hi Kristie - good to see that you are enthusiastic about the topic but still unsure of what inclusive education might mean. I think you will learn in this course is about how to differentiate the same curriculum for a range of different learning needs. this will be explored in week 5.

  • Hi Sophia - any university is free to use this course as part of their teacher training. if you would like to recommend it to universities, please do so. we would love to hear from them if they find it useful. .

  • Hi Noel - you remind us of an important aspect of inclusive education - it is about inclusion in society in general and not only in schooling.

  • Thanks for sharing this Christopher. You raise an important point about the long terms impacts of segregation and these also affect non-disabled people who can grow up without any contact with disability at all. It is a human experience that they are not exposed to and this .limits their understanding not only of disability but also of diversity in general.

  • Hi Saudah,
    please share with us how you find this course. I hope that it will be relevant to your context but if not you can suggest ways in which we can improve. I think that it is important when starting on the inclusive education journey that you get the basic principles rights and this is what we are aiming to do in this course. everyone will apply it...

  • Welcome to all our late comers. I don't think that it will be a problem to catch up if you allocate some time to the course each day. As always don't forget to read the comments from other participants as they are very valuable.

  • Hi Evans - that sounds like quite a challenge. Are you able to cater for their "sharp brains" in your centre? Do you think that they should go to a regular school or not? What do you think would need to happen in regular schools in Ghana to accommodate them?

  • Thanks for this inspiration from Brazil. It is truly a unique country that combines huge challenges with remarkable people. With the diversity of your population inclusion could be a way of life.

  • Hope you will share the TAFE experience with us - we have much to learn from it.

  • I would love to hear more about your project for right to education - I know that it is very much needed.

  • Maybe some of the teachers would like to join this course.

  • Lets keep in touch Malcolm. we are hoping to develop more online courses on disability inclusion that might fit in with your project. also consider using this MOOC with your teachers who are training now. We have suggested learning groups for teachers in low income countries where they come together at a place with bandwidth and then discuss the sessions after...

  • Thanks for all the comments - lets keep them coming. We have found that one of the best parts of this course is the debate and dialogue that occurs between participants and with educators. So please share your views and you will help others as well as learn a lot in the process. I sense a lot of excitement at the beginning of the course and I would urge you...

  • I wonder Edith what happens when there is not a special school is available. I suppose the child with a disability will be at home and out of school.

  • I agree Theresa. I think it probably needs to be adapted to your purpose and your context.

  • Ever thought about getting a group of teachers together to do some of this work, Shantil?

  • I like this idea a lot, Alex. Often these support staff spend a lot of time with kids and they know a lot about what happens in the playground, on the buses etc. The support staff are often subject to a different form of exclusion in schools where their work is not valued. Doing something like this would give them an important role in the school and also add...

  • I think that Ann has a special leadership style. She is clearly in charge and driving the process but she is making sure that everyone is involved and she accepts that this could take a long time. Inclusion is a process and not just an outcome.

  • Hi Gcinile have a look at last weeks session on parents and you might find some ways that teachers can engage with parents.

  • Thanks for all the great suggestions. It seems that the most important thing is to give parents a time and a space to talk to teachers and to each other. This will include problem solving not only in the classroom but also in community situations. I would also like to point out that family support is an ongoing necessity. As their children grow older parents...

  • Bear in mind the role of the family in answering this question. Does special schooling support the family? If so I think it can be very helpful but if it breaks down the family bonds we need to consider whether the cost is too high.

  • It seems that this video has been important in developing an understanding that we all have a role to play in inclusion. Relating this to Crain's input on social inclusion we can understand why inclusion is important and how it impacts upon society as a whole

  • What wonderful suggestions people have made here. I would like to challenge participants to think of both formal supports (from professionals or organisations) and informal (those from the extended family and community). For example, how do you think that churches could help? Are there community associations that could offer some assistance?

  • This is a critical point you raise here Jonathan that often leads to people talking past each other. What is the essential purpose of education? Is it to get the school leaving certificate of that country to go into further education or is also about what sort of society we want to creat and how this is made up of individuals who share certain values. It is...

  • This is a touching story Madeleine. What I like about it is that you have avoided blaming the mother and you are looking at ways to get through to her and to support her. Too often parents get blamed for not supporting the child without understanding of the parents difficulties and their needs for support.

  • Thanks Claire for this useful link. Anyone interested in higher education should really have a look at this and also engage further with Claire. We don't have a lot about HE on this course but everything is relevant to HE but you just need to make the application.

  • Maybe these definitions will help understanding the map:
    Signature is when the state expresses a willingness to enter into the convention and to continue the treaty-making process. They are not at this stage legally bound by the convention.

    Ratification is when a state indicates its consent to be bound to a convention. The convention is then integrated...

  • I have found these comments very interesting but I would like to re-emphasize the low income context here. We need to recognize that in some countries there are no or very few special schools and the idea that disabled children should only go to special schools often results in them not attending school at all. At the same time such special schools as there...

  • Hi Phil, what you are saying makes sense. Once children have learned those disability related skills they should be able to enter the mainstream. However, this happens very seldom and I wonder why. Possibly because there are ongoing needs that regular schools feel reluctant to cater for or perhaps it is just an attitude thing.

  • I agree that this book is very helpful and we have worked with this book as a basis for our course. If you look in the resources section you will find the link or just google it and you can download for free.

  • Glad you found this useful Frauke. I think you have understood that it is the schools and the education system that needs to change not just the children who don't fit into the traditional classroom.