Learners with a disability have a variety of choices when it comes to the courses they can pursue either for leisure, for personal fulfillment, or as a career path. Before making the decision on what course to pursue or for your child to pursue, one needs to visit a Centre for assessment, where a specialist school to meet their needs may be recommended. In most cases there is, of course, no one-size-fits-all solution for students with disabilities. What remains consistent, however, are the widespread resources and options given to students with special needs depending on their chosen institution and location.
The Kenya Institute for the Blind, for example, trains Blind persons in Braille reading and writing skills. Sighted persons are also trained in Braille reading and writing skills if they request it for use in their work with the visually impaired. This is a skill that can be developed to very high levels and a person that chooses to pursue Braille reading can become an expert in this area and a sought after person in the future. Since Braille is not a very common area of study, mastering it gives one an opportunity for other doors to open, as far as pursuing academics is concerned.
Apprenticeships (practical hand-based courses)
The Kenya Christian school for the deaf (KCSD) is an example of an institution that offers access to basic skills, work-based learning, and commercial training, empowering individuals and businesses with the skills they need to grow. They also offer apprenticeships, a vital part of vocational training that can provide practical skills and help those with a hearing disability face life and earn a living. These courses vary from designing clothes, or creating art, and depend on one’s area of interest.
If one has been gifted with a great singing voice, a course in vocals training and learning a musical instrument can be a great thing to pursue if one has a physical challenge because it comes naturally and does not need a lot of body movement f aside from the finger and facial muscles.
A great inspiration comes from Kodi Lee, a 22 year old visually impaired young man that has autism who recently won “America’s Got Talent” after impressing judges and the country with his singing and piano-playing talents. He was awarded $1 million and one is only left to imagine what he can do with that money to improve his life . Though visually impaired, Andrea Boccelli, Tenor, musician, writer and musical producer of Italian origin, has sold more than 75 million records. Boccelli has received numerous awards of international prestige and even has a beach named after him on the Adriatic.
Henry Wanyoike is a classic example pursuing sports as a career path even though it comes with its fair share of challenges. Wanyoike’s highly successful Para athletics career included 5,000m T11 gold at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and 5,000m and 10,000m gold and world records at the 2002 World Championships. He won double gold at Athens 2004, setting 5,000m and 10,000m T11 world records that still stand today, and excelled on the roads too, winning half and full marathons around the world. This may not be your conventional course but clearly, it is a path that has led him to great success and he has set the pace for many people with disabilities that would be tempted to give up.
Another classic example is the Kenyan-born Paralympian ranked among the United Kingdom’s top 100 Influential persons with disabilities. Anne Olympia Wafula, who now represents Great Britain, inspires achievement and excellence through motivational talks which encourage others to overcome difficulties and maximize their potential.
Alex Zanardi suffered an accident in 2001 in which both legs were amputated. Three years later he was on the track again driving a BMW for which he himself had adapted some prostheses. He won four World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) victories. Indeed disability is not inability.
As long as one can speak and give their story, this is an area that one can seriously consider even if they are impaired in one way or another. There are so many examples of people that have made a career out of the story of their lives.
Nick Vujicic is another world-famous celebrity with a disability, and founder of Life Without Limbs - an organization for people with physical disabilities. Nick is a renowned speaker He is currently giving motivational talks around the world, has written several books and is a regular on talk shows and TV programs. He became very famous when starring in the touching short film "The Butterfly Circus".
Another story is that of Elizabeth Anne Velásquez, an American motivational speaker, activist, author, and YouTuber. She was born with an extremely rare congenital disease called Marfanoid–progeroid–lipodystrophy syndrome that, among other symptoms, prevents her from accumulating body fat and gaining weight. She has been on a journey to inspire and raise awareness against bullying.