A Successful Model to Educate Children with Disabilities in Afghanistan and Other Developing Countries

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Photo courtesy of Everything Afghanistan

PATHS' laboratory school, The Exceptional Children’s Laboratory School, will be a living laboratory of K-12 student development in special education. More specifically, our laboratory classroom will be a setting for faculty research and where undergraduate and graduate students work together serving as assistants in the classes and as participant observers in the ongoing life of the classroom.  Finally, our laboratory classroom will serve as a model of education practice and as a fieldwork site developing best practices in the art of teaching students with disabilities in Afghanistan.

The impact of The Exceptional Children’s Laboratory School for teacher training could be profound in its effects for Afghanistan and the region at large.  Our laboratory school will be a living laboratory of educational best practices that will benefit teachers, students, and Afghan civil society at large. Of course, the overall benefit of any project is its sustainability which is measured in how well it translates into commercial success, public and/or private, and its potential for scale-up.

Possible avenues for scale-up of The Exceptional Children's Laboratory School could include a combination of public sector, international donors, and private sector commercialization. PATHS' US-based inspiration for The Exceptional Children's Laboratory School has shown commercial success since its inception nearly a decade ago. We will work towards this same level of commercial success for The Exceptional Children's Laboratory School in Kabul, Afghanistan by establishing a proof-of-concept of this unique education model.  Additionally, we are making a documentary film to publicize our efforts and illustrate the struggles of disabled children in Afghanistan and how our teacher training program would provide them with a unique and meaningful solution. 

We fully understand the challenges in addressing the status quo in how disabled children are valued and further, how resources are delivered to children with special needs in developing countries like Afghanistan. But we believe that by providing a proof-of-concept of our teacher training program via The Exceptional Children's Laboratory School in Kabul we can offer a viable, cost-effective, sustainable and meaningful solution to this significant issue that can be exported to other provinces in Afghanistan and will further translate into commercial success in the international arena.

It is our belief that children with disabilities deserve the same chance at success as their regular education peers, and that this success is best realized in an educational environment tailored and modified to meet their specific needs more adequately allowing them to become contributing members of their communities.  To this end, PATHS seeks to export our teacher training program via The Exceptional Children’s Laboratory School to other developing countries and countries mired in conflict in a greater effort to help disabled children recognize their full potential so they can contribute to the future peace and prosperity of their communities.

About the author


I have spent the past 25 years advocating on behalf of my disabled daughter to help her realize greater independence and a better quality of life; it has been a life-lesson for me and the most difficult thing I have ever done. Raising a child with disabilities is challenging enough…

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