Dr Eric Kweku Arhinful, Head of Psychiatry at the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, has advised teachers to be mindful and caring for the behavioural tendencies of their students who demonstrate mental disorders.
According to Dr Arhinful, there had been high tendencies of children developing mental disorders, explaining that lack of knowledge on the part of teachers had led to the mistreatment or disregard for the affected children.
He gave the advice during a training workshop organised by the Centre for Innovation and Professional Development under Synergies Institute Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Education Service (GES) on Friday in Accra.
The workshop brought together 40 teachers from Basic and Junior High Schools in the Okaikwei North municipality.
Dr Arhinful, in an interactive session, lectured the teachers on the prevailing disorders that frequently manifested in children across the country such as depression, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), aetiology, encopresis, enuresis, and autism.
“Most of these disorders are either due to the environment of the children, their biology or their genetics and are not their own faults,” he added.
Dr Arhinful advised the teachers to exercise caution when dealing with children with these disorders and be patient with them.
He noted that often due to ignorance of these disorders most of the children were sent to special schools, but in reality could fare better in regular schools.
At the workshop, the teachers argued that the resources available to them would not allow them to cater for the needs of the few within the class who had such disorders.
They stressed the need for more sensitisation programmes to equip teachers with the skills to detect and handle children with the disorders.
Dr Arhinful, however, pleaded with them to make time for the children who suffered from these disorders, saying “you are their parents while they are in school so try your very best to care and teach them.”
He also added that plans were in place to bring children suffering with disorders or disabilities from special schools to merge them with regular schools under the slogan ‘Education for All.’
Mr Ogochukwu Nweke, Vice President of Synergies Institute Ghana, offered to host more workshops in partnership with the GES to better equip teachers to handle and care for children who demonstrated such tendencies.