Since its inception, BRAC Education Programme (BEP) has been including children with disabilities in its various educational initiatives. To foster this inclusion initiative BEP developed Children with Special Needs (CSN) unit in 2003. From 2014 this unit launched Neuro Developmental Disability (NDD) centres for poor communities in Bangladesh in cooperation with Health, Nutrition & Population Programme (HNPP) of BRAC. Till June 2015, four centres were established; one in a slum in Dhaka city and three others in Pabna, Khulna and Gazipur districts. Preparation of opening another centre in Sylhet district is in progress. As this is relatively a recent initiative of BRAC, this research study was done to document and analyse its processes, outcomes, problems and solutions. Overall aim of this study was to explore in detail about these centres including strategies taken, successes achieved, challenges faced and scope of further improvement in operation. Qualitative research design was followed as the study intended to document entire development of the centres from the perspectives of policy and personnel, lives of the children and their families and communities. The study involved review of programme documents (e.g. policies, curriculum, materials etc.), repetitive nonparticipant observations of the centres combined with semi-structured interview and focus group discussions (FGDs) with a range of stakeholders including children, parents, teachers and other officials from BRAC. Findings indicated positive learning outcomes of children with disabilities and the joy of having a school like centre for them, changing attitudes and perceptions of families and communities regarding disability and a genuine goodwill among most staffs involved. Certain problems were also voiced. Some concerns were expressed over limited resources in the centres, problem with transportation of children, inadequate medical support including therapies, lack of intrinsic motivation of teachers and caregivers for poor honorarium and so on. Major area of expressed concern was the need for intensive training of teachers and other staffs and the need for a more structured approach. Curricular and other activities for children could be improved if appropriate activities were implemented by the teachers even in such resource constraint situations. Based on these analyses, some recommendations for advancing growth of these centres have been made. It is hoped that this report will provide useful information for better implementation of the NDD centres.
Key Words: Community Centre, Children, Neuro Developmental Disability, BRAC