the same around the globe. Every nation's history is the history of humankind. Progress in knowledge generation, and its communication and diffusion, facilitate global interdependency. At the same time, the implications of new experiences in the special education field, in particular for those with mild disabilities, will depend on the particular conditions of a country (e.g., the economic resources, the personnel training programs, the educational philosophy and policies that underlie decision- making processes, the level of institutional coordination, the level of community awareness and sensitivity about those with disabilities, the national political situation, and the economic conditions and technological resources of the special education field).
Educational experiences are not exported if there is no demand for it. Currently, education is a universally shared good. Nations are presently moving toward a global model of development, and thus, experiences are exported if local efforts are successful in solving a problem common to other regions. Currently, international solidarity is a critical theme in nations' foreign affairs policies. In this vein, Panama's experiences in the education of populations with mental retardation and in early intervention, among others, have been shared, evaluated, improved, and applied to the local conditions of Central American countries. Similarly, the Instituto Superior de Especialización has opened its doors to the entire continent as a place where different countries share their experiences and help to enrich (directly or through international organizations) the special education model presented in this chapter.
I am grateful to Mirtilda V. de Córdoba, Elidenis de Espino, Dalis Licona de Yueng, Xiomara de Cazabón, Miriam García de Paredes, Zobeida de Ohvares, Waldo Batista, Berta de De León, Flor Velarde, Julia Urriola, and many others affiliated with the Instituto Panamefio de Habilitación Especial for their invaluable assistance during the preparation of this chapter.
The following sources (not cited in the text) were consulted in the preparation of this chapter.
Instituto Panameño de Habilitación Especial. ( 1978). Memoria de labores. Panamá: Author.
Instituto Panameño de Habilitación Especial. ( 1983, Jan.). Experiencias en la habilitación del retardo mental. Reporte Final de la 1a Jornada Cientifíca para el Estudio y la Habilitación del Retardo Mental