THE importance of Special Needs Education in the District with a special focus on the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth, will be the topic at a community discussion next week.The Northern Areas People Development Initiative (NAPDI) will be staging its first quarterly community discussion forum for 2017 on Wednesday, February 15, at the Famhealth Centre in Gelvandale. Paul Geswindt, a NAPDI Trustee, said that through NAPDI’s involvement with education improvement projects, it became clear that Special Needs Education needs more focused attention. “The identification, support and proper placement of these learners can help parents and educators to deal better with the situation. Due to a lack of guidance and resources many parents and main stream schools must often find ways to survive on their own to assist the learners. The research shows these learners are the most at risk and eventually drop out of school with very little or no skills,” Geswindt said.The PE Education District Office’s Special Needs Section has been invited to deliver the keynote address, reflecting on amongst others the numbers of learners identified for Special Needs Education, facilities and what is being done to find solutions for the many challenges facing the sector.Valma Wentzel, a teacher at Fontein Primary School, will share her experiences of teaching learners with barriers in a mainstream school environment with virtually no resources.“Mrs Wentzel is a real inspiration to many as she is committed to support these learners that have to cope with so many other challenges in their young lives. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Special Needs Education and continues to do quality support work often at personal time and financial expense,” Geswindt said. The audience will also hear from a parent of a special needs learner. A panel discussion and question and answer session will follow the speaker inputs. Parents, teachers and community members are welcome to attend the event that will take place from 5pm to 7pm at the Famhealth Centre, Springbok Street, Gelvandale. RSVP by phoning NAPDI at 041 457 1422 or 041 457 1135 or email: email@example.com.