FROM DENIAL TO ACCEPTANCE...
CBSE has specific Guidelines of Inclusive Education of Children to ensure that no child with special needs is denied admission in Mainstream Education and to provide support through assistive devices and the availability of trained teachers and to modify the existing physical infrastructure and teaching methodologies to meet the needs of all children including Children with Special Needs.
In adherence with this our school has Special Educators who take care of bringing the children with special needs to the class standard. This mainly includes children with learning disabilities who exhibit erratic learning patterns, individuals who seem to be able to do some things quite well while struggling dramatically to perform other tasks. This mismatch between ability, expectations and outcomes can cause terrific disappointment and upset, resulting in a cascade of emotions and behaviours that can interfere with everyday functioning in school, at home and in the community.
What is Special Education?
Special education is specially designed instruction, support and services provided to students with an identified learning need. These needs require an Individually Designed Intervention program. The purpose of Special Education is to enable students to successfully develop to their optimum potential and be comfortable in class and community. These children are encouraged to develop skills that make them feel self sufficient in later life.
Who needs Special Education?
A child needs special education if he or she has learning difficulties or disabilities that make it difficult for him or her to learn than most other children of approximately the same age. Special Education Needs indicate that the child may have -
What is not a learning difficulty?
How does the school test for Special Education Needs?
The eligibility of a student for special education is based on a comprehensive evaluation process. This process includes
Commonly practised interventions:
A person with a learning difficulty has difficulty, learning in a typical manner. However, with appropriate cognitive and academic interventions many can overcome this.
Interventions: Depending on the type and severity of the difficulty, interventions may be used to help the individual learn strategies that will foster future success.
The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP): Special education teachers help to develop an individualized plan for each special education student.
Our special education teachers use various techniques to promote learning. Depending on the requirement, teaching methods include
The instructions or teaching method aims to improve a skill or ability in each student. When students need special accommodations in order to take a test, special education teachers see that appropriate ones are provided, such as having the questions read orally or lengthening the time allowed to take the test.
Learning Process: There is no single way for students to learn. Special education teachers identify the learner and provide a variety of visual, auditory and tactile learning materials. The sessions are planned based on the Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI), which contends that different people have different ways of thinking, learning and processing. This theory defines eight discrete intelligences; namely; verbal (linguistic), logical (mathematical), visual (spatial), musical (rhythmic), bodily (kinesthetic), naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal. They identify the type of learner and in order to cater to the needs they may use learning aids and manipulatives like puppets; fraction pies / bars; etc, role plays, charts, small group work to create a hands-on learning experience. These techniques and aids motivate and support children with learning difficulties in communication and interaction. Children are helped to develop their social and motor skills, and the visual, tactile and emotional needs of the child are satisfied.
The Need for Special Education – Principal’s View
‘No child left behind’
Udgam School, with a history of 48 successful years, follows a culture that is based on the above-mentioned concept.
We, at Udgam, have always stressed on the progress of every child. Extra classes before or after school, classes on holidays are a common feature.
Having been in this school since 1978 I have gone through several experiences. I remember in the first few years of my career at Udgam, I used to report early to school and spend extra time with the students who had learning issues. I concentrated on improving their English, specially written work. I also made efforts to improve handwriting of children. I used to work on holidays preparing extra exercises for them or checking the work done by them.
CBSE has started the CCE from 2009 and this system also stresses the same. Every child should attain a minimum level of education. Even children with learning disabilities should be included in the mainstream.
Keeping this in mind, Udgam has hired ‘special educators’ who spend a lot of time helping children with learning difficulties and bringing them to the level of their class. The learning disabilities of the children vary – not being able to read, not understanding written instructions, problem of writing alphabets or numbers clearly and so on.
Such children are few in number but we take pains to see that they also come up to the level of the class. Such children lack self-confidence and self-esteem. So they are sent to the special educators for extra help and care in studies and general counselling.
Since they are few in the special class, they are given individual attention, so they shed their inhibitions and interact freely with the special educators. With the passage of time, they have gained confidence. During examination also, the special educators help children to read and understand the questions asked in the paper. They keep persuading, encouraging the children to answer the paper. This has made a real difference in the children’s approach to studies.
“Impossible is a word in the dictionary of fools”. Many people with learning disability or learning difficulty have overcome their hurdle with great grit and determination. They have become pioneers in their chosen field and have created their own pathways for others to emulate and follow. These remarkable men and woman were ridiculed, mocked, sneered at when young at school and most of them even left school with low grades.
Tom Cruise on his learning disability ( Dyslexia), ”I’d try to concentrate on what I was reading then I’d get to the end of the page and have very little memory of anything I’d read”
A teacher sent the following note home with a six year old boy: “he is too stupid to learn” That boy was Thomas Edison.
Albert Einstein’s teacher said that he was mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in his foolish dreams. He went to become the greatest physicist of the 20th century.
As a high school student many of Mohammad Ali’s teacher labeled him as “DUMB” as he could barely read his text books. He went on to become a greatest boxer.
1. My child is struggling with learning
2. My child has a learning issue. What next?
3. What steps should I take for the future?