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Background of the Study

Handicapped can be defined as a permanent physical or mental condition that makes it difficult or impossible to use a particular part of the body or mind. Krit (1962), defined it as one who deviates from the normal or average child in mental, physical and social characteristics to such an extent that he requires a modification of school practices or special educational services in order to develop to his maximum capacity.

Ogbu, (1987) put this more clearly by stating that when one loses a part or a structure of the body, and if the loss makes him unable to carry out such functions, he is handicapped and Ugwu, (1994), refers to handicapped as one’s inability to perform required functions resulting from disability. Science is the body of knowledge obtained by observation, experimentation, conclusion on data collected.

Hornby in fifth edition, oxford Advanced learners Dictionary defined science as knowledge about the structure and behaviour of the natural and physical world, based on facts you can prove for example, by experiments. Science is also seen as a critical observation of nature. Science is also a discovery. Science has to do with observation and experimentation, how can it be related or taught to handicapped students.

Many conditions have been considered as sources of handicapped to human beings.

Some of these conditions may include: speech and hearing impairment, physical and health impairment, visually impairment, mental handicap, communication difficulties, learning disabilities, orthopedic impairment, neurological impairment etc. These conditions may limit a person’s opportunities in doing well in science and may lead to prejudice and frustration among the handicapped.

Speech and hearing impaired: Impairment is the state of having a physical or mental condition which means that part of your body or brain does not work correctly in order words, speech and hearing impairment is a state of not being able to speak very well.

Krit (1992) in his own classification went further to consider the effect of hearing loss on the understanding of language and speech, it is worthy of note that if speech has been acquired before loss of hearing, the communication and educational process will be different from those used with persons who have never known speech or language.

Physical impaired: This is a condition that interfere with the individual ability to use his body. It is made up of orthopedic impairment and neurological impairment.

 Abba and Adewo (1988), agreed that they include children who are cripple, deformed or neurologically impaired but exudes such sensory handicaps as deafness, blindness, speech defects etc.

Physical handicapped are those handicapped that interfere with the normal functioning of the joints, bones and muscles to the extent that retards a child’s ability to cope with normal class room conditions.

Visually impaired: The term visual impairment implies a defect in one’s vision. Ogbu, (1987) described it as deviation from the theoretical normal eye either in structure or function. Anumonye (1982) sees it as the act of exhibiting reduction in visual performance when compare with the ‘normal’ visual performance or the actual ‘drawback’ an individual experiences which others can observe in specific visual task.

Mental retardation or impaired child is one whose cognitive potential is below average and in addition, such a child manifests deficits in adaptive behavior (Nwaogu 1996) .

This means that the child academic performance is poor. He also performs poorly in any intelligence test meant for his age mate in the same environment.

The handicapped have strength and weakness for instance, a physical impaired may have difficulty in moving around the house but may be able to see, a mentally handicapped may be vary good at football.

Generally, we may regard all handicapped in term of inadequate behavioral functioning in the way they live in their environment. Though he has at one time been capable, for example our environment demands that we work and support our self financially. As a result of handicap, the disabled person may or may not be able to respond to his environment at the adequate level.

Fundamental to any study of the handicapped is the recognition that the handicapped is hardly ever total except in few cases which a physical and mental handicapped can combine and in one of such cases, the life of normal person.

The fact that teachers do not take extra care of the handicapped children in school; compare with the fact that normal children avoid contract with the handicapped and also the feelings of inferiority held by some of the handicapped them selves may hinder the progress of the handicapped.

Various other factors have also been relevant in considering what makes a handicapped child more likely to be back ward in science.

Absence from school is more common among handicapped students. On his return form a period of absence, the child would have missed new information that his classmates have learnt unless the teacher has time to give him extra lesson, which is always depressing and is less likely to do well in class work generally and in science subjects particular.

In Ebonyi state there are six (6) special schools, both private and public these are:

–      Speecial school for the blind, Orefia Iboko established 2001.

–      International model school for the deaf and dumb, Afikpo, established 2005

–      Prison’s special school, Abakaliki, established 2005

–      Our lady of compassion special school, Okpaugwu-at St

John Abakaliki, established 2005

–      Special school for the deaf and dumb, Effata Onuenyim, Ebonyi Local Government Area; established 2005

–      Prison’s special junior sec. school Abakaliki, established 2006

       In the special school for the deaf and dumb effata Onuenyim, Ebonyi L.G.A. the school is meant for the deaf and dumb, and blind. These school practice “formal school” whereby they have different teachers that handles different subjects for the school. They study different kinds of subjects both Arts and science subject.

       In terms of science, in theoretical aspects of it, the blind make use of Braille” in reading and type writer in typing what the teacher is saying when teaching is going on. In the practical aspect of science, they do not participate because there is no special equipment/ Facilities that are meant for them, due to lack of their sight and science is mainly practical. As a result of this, they hare no laboratory, or facilities for learning and on special science teacher, all these constitute a lot of problems in learning science.

       For the deaf, they study different kinds of subjects, in the science subject they perform better only in practical aspect, but in theoretical aspect, their performance is low in the sense that they neither hear nor speak/talk

       For the prison’s special school, Abakaliki, it is a place for both physically and other types of disorder. They also carry out normal schooling. They teach different kinds of subject, but in science, the problem they have is the practical aspect of which involve moving around for example HPE (Health and Physical education), they can not perform because of their disability. They do not have laboratory due to the fact that most of them use clutches, and wheel chair which cannot be used inside the laboratory. They are lacking specialized teachers that can teach effectively because they need supports, some teachers find it difficult to teach the students because they are not specialized on that.

       History of Special Education in Nigeria Abang (1981) posited that special education developed as a society searched for adequate ways to care for the child who on account of physical or mental deviation, could not profit from regular educational services.

       The education of the handicapped in Nigeria has come a long way. According to Mba (1991) the formal education of the disabled began in 1914 when the missionaries of the church missionary society founded the berekodo leprosy settlement in Abeokuta.

       The first school for the blind was established in 1940 in Kano by the Sudan united mission on experimental basis. By 1953, the Sudan united mission established the Gindiri school for the blind Today in Nigeria. There is the pacelli school for the blind children, Surulere, Lagos which was established in 1962 by the catholic mission. This school attracted the attention of the federal government which put up permanent buildings and provided grants for the running of the school until the Lagos state government took over in 1967 (Ladipo, 2000).

       Also the formal education for the deaf began in 1957 with the establishment of the Wesley school for the deaf at the Methodist school Yaba. The school developed rapidly and in 1962, it moved to its permanent site in Surnlere Lagos. The Ibadan Mission school for the deaf was established in 1960 by Rev. Andrew foster, an American who was also deaf.

       Schools for the physically impaired and mentally retarded have also been established in various parts of the country. This include the Atunde Olu school for the physically handicapped children established in 1965 at Surulere Lagos. A similar school was also established in Ibadan in 1964. This school has been taken over by the oyo state government and moved to its permanent site ar Ijokodo.

       Today, there are several special schools for the blind, the deaf and other impairments all over the country. Besides, thousands of disabled children can now be found in ordinary schools in different parts of the country (Ladipo; 2000)



It is well known that the study of science constitutes a problem too many normal primary and secondary school students. This problem may arise immediately they enter into primary school. For the handicapped, it is obvious that, the problems they encounter in learning, as a nemlls of their physical condition may create problems in understanding science. Thus, it is likely that teaching science to the handicapped students will require extra effort on the part of the teachers who are likely to encounter more problems than they would when teaching science to the handicapped students. The problem of this study is on the difficulties faced by handicapped teachers in teaching science.


       The main purpose of this study is to: discover

  1. To what extent are the materials for teaching and learning of science available in handicapped schools.
  2. How often do the handicapped students attend school.
  3. Attitude of handicapped children towards the learning of science
  4. To what extent the teachers have special training for teaching the handicapped students
  5. If the abnormalities of the student affect their performance in science.
  6. How best the problems of teaching science to handicapped children could be solved.


       The importance of this study lies in the fact that findings from the study will help the handicapped to play their roles in technological development of the nation. For instance, societal wrong perception of handicapper is an impediment towards special education.

       In most society, the handicap are labeled, example, the boy who is blind is blind. This affects the blind specially in school and discourages them from mixing with or socializing with others. This will help the society to change towards the handicapped in the society.

       This study will help the government to give concrete meaning to the idea of equal educational opportunities for all children, their physical, mental and emotional disabilities notwithstanding.

       Also to provide adequate education for all handicapped children and adult in order that they may fully play their roles in the development of the nation and to provide opportunities for exceptionally gifted children to develop at their own pace in the interest of the nation’s economic and technological development.


The study basically covers the problem of teaching science to the handicapped student in the Ebonyi state ministry of Education

       Specifically to the six special education in the Ebonyi state.

  1. Special school for the blind orefia Iboko
  2. International model school for the deaf and dumb, Afikpo.
  3. Prison’s special school, Abakaliki
  4. Our lady of compassion special school Okpaugwu- St John Abakaliki
  5. Special school for the deaf and dumb Effatta – onuenyim, Ebonyi L.G.A
  6. Prison’s special Junior secondary school, Abakaliki.


The following research question guided study:

  1. To what extent are materials for teaching and learning science available in handicapped school?
  2. How often do the handicapped students attend school?
  3. What are the attitudes of the handicapped children towards the learning of science?
  4. To what extent do the teachers have basic training or qualification for teaching handicapped students?
  5. Do the abnormalities of the students affect their performance in science?
  6. How best could the problems of teaching science to the handicapped children be solved?


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