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Category Archives: Vydehi School of Rehabilitation
“Inclusive good quality education
is the foundation of equitable societies “
Have you ever tried to feel the joy of a child with learning challenges reading a story book, a child differently abled participating in sports with his friends, a painter with no writing skills painting that canvas? Yes, it is quite possible but only if we open eyes to our own blindfolds of discrimination and start paying attention to all irrespective of limitation and different abilities they hold.
Earlier, in our education systems across the world, we used to give preference to the perceived talented ones, skillful ones and paid more attention to capable ones. And habitually or conveniently ignored or refused to acknowledge the emotional plight of the differently abled. Our teaching systems had become cozier and comfortable in just making the brighter ones succeed, while brushing the existence of ones with difficulties under carpet, labeling them as abnormal, lazy, stupid and incapable.
Inclusive Education – The Revolutionary Idea
The concept of Inclusive education has opened the doors to equal attention and opportunities to all. There is enough research to prove that bringing the differently abled under one roof with their abled peers is but a win-win for all, not just the differently abled. Inclusion offers an opportunity to nurture relationships and develop long lasting friendships. It is friendships that make people feel loved, cared and safe. They render the skills needed by the differently abled to maneuver through social relationships smoothly later in life. Similarly, their abled peers show increased awareness, tolerance and positive attitude towards others and ultimately learn to live cohesively in the society, while respecting the existence of others. The good news is that schools and government have started to take the right to education seriously. It has become an international phenomena more so and schools across the globe and in India have already started implementing policies around it.
Inclusive Education – The Progressive Change
Learning challenges, differently abled, deficit in intellectual capacity or emotional-behavioral problems and myriad neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism hamper easy acquisition of academic and life skills. Inclusive education has paved the way for such children with special needs, to be given a fair chance like all other students to participate in education and school. It has enabled us to look beyond the blindfold of academic scores, at multiple intelligences to foster varying capacities in different children. Now, a child can take help of a special educator and work around his/her reading writing difficulties to acquire knowledge and go on to pursue a successful and happy life. Special educators, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, teachers and parents now work together to attend to the unique needs of every child in the school.
The Road Ahead
The road to inclusive education for all, is not a cake walk for sure, primarily considering the humongous population of India, besides other complexities around implementation of this concept. The implementation is in process but at a very micro level today. Well, to meet the challenges surrounding it we as educators, parents as well as community leaders need to get involved and cooperate whole-heartedly.
Perhaps, Inclusive education is more of a journey than a destination. Come let’s contribute towards building a world free of disorders or disabilities… a world full of equal opportunities and endless possibilities.
Know more about Vydehi Rehab School in Bangalore
*Sourced from the Internet
Technology comes with its own pros and cons, but as for kids with special needs, technology can always be used to enhance their communication and social skills. In today’s times, there are a variety of options available on hand that can be used for communication as well as learning
Assistive technology has proved to be of great help in children with learning disabilities.
Assistive technology is a very effective approach if they are used appropriately. Many parents are not aware about the use of assistive technology. Being aware about this technology can help parents make optimum use of the technology for best results. You can choose the technology as per custom needs of your kids.
Assistive technology is an equipment or system that helps you work with any sort of human learning disabilities. AT helps children in improving skills deficits like reading and spelling. AT helps a child with learning disabilities be independent and confident too. Here’s a run through some assistive technology tools that are available.
Alternative Keyboards – The keyboards come with special overlays on regular keyboards because children with learning disabilities have issues typing. The customization helps them around input choices, color/ location as well as group keys and graphics as well.
Abbreviation expanders – It is a software that is used along with word processing in order to help the child with frequently used words as well as phrases. The user can create, store and use them whenever needed without making spelling mistakes and faster by less typing.
Free Form Database Software – This is a noting software which stores notes in electronic format and the user can retrieve the same by typing a fragment of the original note.
Electronic math work sheets – For people who aren’t able to solve mathematics queries with the help of pencil and paper can take help of these software programs. They help in aligning, organizing as well as reading loudly using a speech synthesizer.
Personal FM listening systems – This helps the user listen to a speaker in a better way by enhancing the concentration levels. The unit comes with a wireless transmitter for the speaker and earphone for the receiver.
Many other assistive learning tools are available that can help children deal with their learning disabilities.
Mental health is a matter of serious concern in India, particularly because of the taboo and stigma around it. In India about 1 in 10 children and school going youngsters. Mental health condition includes disorders like anxiety, behavioural disorders, self-harm, depression and substance abuse to name a few.
There has been a rise in the cases and the situation now is quite worse than it was some three decades ago. Today you may see umpteen incidences associated with involvement of children in substance abuse, self-harm, anxiety, depression and more. There has been a spike in cases of learning disabilities and autism as well in the last few years. There is also a widespread surge in sexual abuse of children. Due to the mental health challenges faced by children, their families are subjected to stress and collapsing as well.
We have always believed that childhood days are the most carefree days of our lives. But, may be that was the scenario long back. Today our lifestyle has changed drastically and this includes our food habits, exposure to various digital mediums, lack of outdoor sports and games, to name a few. We need to understand and accept that fact that children are basically the most vulnerable ones and they do not have inbuilt capabilities of coping mechanisms or problem solving. Children may feel left out, bullied, insecure due to the circumstances or about themselves.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT
Primarily, we have to compassionate and try to see how it feels like to be in their shoes. What is also important is to not ignore any suspect worthy symptoms because early intervention can go a long way in shaping up a better future for your child. As parent you need to consult a professional child psychologist (clinical or counselling) or even your child’s school counsellor. Keeping faith in your doctor and patience is also of as much importance.
As per Psychologist from New York with a doctorate in Psychology research shows that the early the intervention the better. Particularly with evidence based interventions, earlier intervention can give better results as these are the years for laying foundation of a better future. She even says that mostly the barriers against early intervention are ignorance of the parents or the cost factor at times.
*Sourced from the Internet
Being a parent of a child with special needs at times brings along this anxiety about inferior treatment to him or her against peers. But, inclusive education is one bridge that can help provide a platform of equal opportunities and learning environment similar to that of peers for children with disabilities. An environment or setting where children with disabilities and general children learn together can give way to them leading independent, respectful and regular lives in general.
Inclusive education is being implemented in various schools in India at partial or complete levels and is proving to be highly beneficial to not only the challenged children but also to the regular or normal children because here is when they learn to live with differences, accept them, adapt themselves and most importantly live in harmony with them.
Here’s a list of few of the umpteen benefits of inclusive education
Improvement in Communication Skills – In an inclusive environment children with special needs get to participate and engage into the same activities together with the normal children. As a result they get to learn from these children which in ultimately helps them improve their social as well as communication skills. The experience is far more enriching because there is sense of equality and respect also while separate classrooms or schools create a sense of biasness. In mainstream classrooms the educational as well as behavioral expectations are higher thus providing an opportunity of learning and developing skills that the kids with special needs can use all through their lives.
Confidence boost for Parents – Parents of disabled children always feel that their children be treated equally and given equal learning environment as well as opportunities. With inclusive classroom setting in place, it’s like a booster for parents of these children. This is the best chance for their kids to learn to live a normal life like their peers.
Benefits to one and all – It’s not only the children with disabilities that benefit from inclusion but the even the able children do. They learn to accept and live in harmony with children with disabilities and also learn to appreciate them. In longer periods they even become friends with children with special needs forming meaningful and life lasting relationships. The normal or general children even help their disabled or challenged peers which also hones their own skills. Even teachers get to teach to a diverse group of students and enhance their teaching skills as well.
Inclusive education is the best of ultimate way to provide equal opportunities and environment, which they deserve so that they can live their lives respectfully, independently and happily.
Know more about Vydehi School of Rehabilitation, Whitefield, Bangalore
It’s not easy for a parent to accept the fact that their child has learning disability. For those who are not aware what apparently learning disability is, it’s a neurological problem of processing that interferes with basic learning skills like calculations, reading or writing. Sometimes, it can also interfere with higher skills that include time planning, abstract reasoning or organization and more. The earlier it is detected and worked upon the better because learning disability does not only affect the academics but moving beyond, it also impacts personal relationships be it friends, family or workplace. Many of you parents, may worry that your child might be labelled as slow and might as well experience low self- esteem. But, apparently, the need of the hour is to meet up with a psychologist or a neurological pediatrician for assessment and work on the remedial approach to the disability. As a parent of a kid with learning disability you need to understand that your child has an above average intelligence and is just as smart as any other kid, but only needs a little bit of outside help to make optimum use of his or her potential.
Furthermore, there is a difference between learning disability and learning problem or issues. While learning problem is due to factors like motor handicaps, emotional disturbance, or visual handicap to name a few, learning disability is about the gap between a child’s potential and actual achievement against it. It is not easy for a parent to find out whether the child has symptoms of learning disability or not because the child looks as normal as any other child, only that the child is not at par with a peer of his or her age as far as skill development is concerned.
Here’s run down some of the specific learning disabilities found in children –
1. Dyslexia – This is a learning disability that affects the reading skills besides the language based processing skills associated with it and hence it is also referred to as language based learning disability. Though the severity of the disability varies from child to child it affects common skill sets like reading, recalling, writing, decoding and sometimes even speech alongside other disorders.
2. Dyscalculia – This specific learning disability is associated with understanding numericals and includes disorders like memorizing and organizing numbers, telling the time, counting trouble, poor comprehension of maths symbols, to name a few.
3. Auditory Processing Disorder – This disability is associated with how the sound that commutes through the ear or how it is interpreted by the brain. A child with this ability does have difficulty processing sounds, recognizing subtle difference between sounds in words even if the sound is loud and clear. The have difficulty understanding from where these sounds are coming in order to block out competing sounds or understand their order.
4. Dysgraphia – This disorder is responsible for affecting the fine motor skills and handwriting ability of a child. The child may experience issues with illegible handwriting, poor spelling and spatial planning, improper spacing and issues while writing as well as with thinking and writing simultaneously.
5. Visual Perceptual/ Visual Motor Deficit – This disorders affects the ability to draw, copy or ability to understand the information that a child views. The disabilities associated with it include poor hand eye coordination, holding pencil too tight, struggle cutting, missing out on differences in printed letters or shapes, to name a few.
6. Non Verbal Learning Disabilities – An individual having NLD or NVLD shows significant disparity between social skills and visual spatial skills besides trouble with interpretation of body language, facial expressions, nonverbal cues as well as poor coordination.
So, if you find your child is exhibiting similar symptoms and you suspect that your child might have learning disability, evaluate your child’s symptoms and on confirmation you may work upon the gaps that are assessed in comparison to the peer group. The special educator usually is the one with whom you can work out a plan that involves activities and actions for making the child independent and move ahead in learning by bypassing the disability or by overcoming it.
Many children with autism find it very difficult to make friends. As kids gain grow older they start understanding of the world around them, the experiences and interactions that are positive and negative. These experiences can affect their self-esteem as well as development. So, how can you contribute from your end in helping your child out with this difficulty? Well, here are a few tips on the same.
- Support your child with interaction
As you are dealing with a child with special needs, you will have to take effort from your end to be the guiding light for your child or the torch bearer where you help your child to interact by teaching him simple interactions like sharing stuff with others, standing in a line, interacting with other children to name a few. Also, let your child practice this to learn it out.
- Nurture your relationship with the child
Every day spend some quality time with your child, mingling and bonding. This sends the signal that the child is important. You may talk about the child friends, your life and even talk about the importance of caring for each other.
- Help your child with feelings management
Primarily teach the child that feeling sad, happy, angry, distressed, jealous is all okay. But, it is very important to control your behaviour even if you experience extreme feelings. Talk about managing feelings like anger without losing your control and doing something stupid like hitting or throwing things around.
- Practice makes man perfect
Yup, with autistic children practice is the key. Whatever you teach take time to make them practice what you’ve taught. The more you practice the more they pick up, be it social or emotional skills.
- Take External Help
If you find out that your child also needs external help along with yours. Try consulting your paediatrician, school or a child disability specialist.
Be positive and help your child through the challenges. Your help will definitely help your child sail through the difficulties around social skills with ease.
This is not something new, and parents of special kids can definitely relate to this fact. Their children with special needs have all the ability to complete graduation just like other peers but more than often they are not.
Here’s an example of a teenager with special needs who had multiple disabilities including bipolar disorder and dyslexia. He used to have a lot of trouble being attentive in class or taking directions. The IQ test score revealed an upper average range of 115. Apparently, his classmates graduated and he too could have but rather than 4 years he took 6 years to do so because after high-school he got in odd jobs for many years. While experts from the area have been saying that 90% of the students with special needs are capable of graduating, there are many reasons that do not allow them to do so.
An interview with almost 100 people, 50 parents and 50 experts from different walks of life brought to light that there have been systematic problems that have led to students not able to graduate. Here’s a run through few issues students have been facing at school and around –
- Fund Issues – Inadequacy of funds leads to inadequacy in facilities needed for special needs students. Schools aren’t able to provide appropriate help to these students.
- Low Expectations – Often parents and teachers expect too less from special needs students and this actually hampers their progress and maybe to an extent even self-confidence.
- Wrong Decisions – Many a times mis-judgement of the abilities of students with special needs and pushing them into alternate diploma programs.
- Training Issues – Many times students are not trained or taught the skills of communication and organization that they need to adapt with the college level and real world.
- Ignorance – Sometimes parents aren’t aware of the rights of special children and are not willing to go in for long battles with schools for them.
A special education advocate in the USA described how in the middle school years she was told that she would never be able to reach college level in the 1990’s due to her disability of reading comprehension in elementary school. Instead of helping her through reading comprehension, her high school put her into remedial courses in English and Maths. But, due to her mindfulness of her parents, who hired a tutor to help her, she could complete her graduation at school and even went on to complete her graduation at the California University, San Diego.
Well, the fact of the matter is that parents and school need to understand that even if their children have multiple disabilities they can grow up to complete their education with the support of the school and them.
Most of us are aware of autism as a developmental disorder that hampers ability of a person to interact as well as communicate. But, Google has a good news for children with this disorder. Google Glass is an eye wearable device by google that enables children with autism to understand the emotions that people convey through their facial expressions. This will help children with autism improve their social skills using a smartphone based app that is paired with the google glass.
As far as the working of the google glass is concerned, once paired on the smartphone with a stand-ford designed app, it helps the child with autism identify the expressions of different people they interact with and notify the same through an audio signal or through an emoticon on the glass display. It can keep a track of faces besides identifying social cues and actions.
A pilot study was undertaken for an age group of 3 to 17 years of age wherein, google glass system was used to help these kids interact better using facial affect recognition. The developed software known as superpower glass system runs on Android smartphones is a sort of boon to autistic children as it empowers them to improve their social interactions. The report on the pilot study was published in NPJ digital medicine journal.
The study was conducted on a group of 14 children with clinically confirmed autism at home over a time span of 10 weeks. The family used this therapy every week for a period of 20 minutes. Before the commencement of the therapy as well as after the completion of it, parents answered a questionnaire in order to provide details on the social skills of the child. The students show significant improvement in social skills as well as their facial expression identification and improvement in eye contact.
This is not the first time such a software is pilot tested. Last year a software that coached children having Autism spectrum disorder with their every-day interaction was developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, Canada. The app called Holii prompts an appropriate reply to a conversation between the wearer and the person in question. For example, if someone says welcome to the wearer, it prompts the wearer to reply with a Hi or a Hello.
The app can be a great help to bridge the gap in autism care. Due to the shortage of therapists, children with autism have to wait as long as 1.5 years for treatment, post their diagnosis. As per experts, early intervention in autism spectrum disorder patients proves to be highly effective and hence this product is particularly useful as it can be used as home-based treatment alternative.
*sourced from the internet
Founded in 2007, Vydehi school is an initiative by Vydehi Group for rehabilitation of children with special needs. As on day, the school has 72 children with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, down’s syndrome, visual impairment and multiple disabilities too.
The school runs across 9.30 am and 1 pm, 5 days a week. The curriculum is customized as per individual student requirements and focuses on development of cognitive, communication, socialization and motor skills. The school maintains a student teacher ratio of 1:6 and their main objective is to provide inclusive education to the special children without discrimination. It focuses on identifying individual abilities of students and making optimum use of them for their life long benefit.
Brigance Diagnostic has been added to the schools arsenal in 2009, already. This inventory has helped meet the needs of individual students, develop measurable goals and monitor their progress efficiently, ever since.
Being an integral part of Vydehi group, Vydehi School is supported by Vydehi Institute of Rehabilitation(VIR) and both the rehabilitation setups work in a close knit way to meet the needs of children, patients and people. While the special educators from school render their services to VIR on a need to need basis, specialists like speech therapists, physiotherapists and more from VIR serve the needs associated with the school children regularly.
The school also offers one-on-one sessions of 1 hour duration to all age groups besides remedial education for students with learning disabilities. Furthermore, it provides home based services for differently-abled children residing in far of areas of the city.
Well, for over a decade now, Vydehi school nestled in Vydehi School of Excellence campus has been working towards providing equal education opportunities to special children for their independence and betterment of their future.