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- Barbie Now Available in Prosthetic and Wheelchairs – Representing Inclusiveness
- It’s Time to Equip Teachers so as to Treat Specail Students as Equals – IAS Topper Ira Singhal
- School Bags Getting Heavier Day by Day? – Here’s What a School Principal did
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Category Archives: Vydehi School of Rehabilitation
The awareness around inclusiveness is increasing across the world with schools opting for inclusive curriculums to help children learn in an environment of equal opportunity and endless possibility. The brand Barbie, which has been a hot favorite amongst kids for years now has decided to elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including a fashion doll line with disabilities in the June Season. As per the Barbie representative, they wanted to showcase a multidimensional view of beauty a well as fashion. They created the doll with a prosthetic limb by collaborating with a disability activist 13 years of age. For the wheelchair design they collaborated with wheelchair experts and UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and is known to be the most requested accessories from Fans of Barbie. As per Mattel the chair designed for Barbie is the ones that is used by individuals who have permanent physical disability.
The objective behind creating this dolls with disabilities is to create awareness and remove the stigma around disabilities and work towards creating an environment of inclusivity and make people understand that there is nothing wrong to have disability. As per Mizrahi, president of Respectability, a group of people that advocate disabilities said that it was important for us to reflect humanity the way it is in our culture be it products, toys and apparently everything around. She added that Barbie, by launching dolls with wheelchair and prosthetic has joined those power brands who understand that marketing and inclusion of people who have disabilities is not only right but profitable too.
The Barbie brand is trying to incorporate diversity in the dolls and hence the recent ones of 2019 fashionistas line will be seen having more realistic body types like smaller bust, more defined arms and less defined waists, to name a few. It will also add different skin and eye colors, hairstyles like braids as well as clothing. It was in 2017 when Mattel had introduced the Hijab donning Barbie and now in 2019 the toymaker is considering same gender Barbie wedding set as well.
*Sourced from the Internet
As per IAS topper IRA Sehgal, a specially abled woman herself who created history by topping the UPSC exam, teachers need to be trained to handle children with special needs. She feels that instead of getting in special educators, we need to train school teachers with skills to handle these children, sign languages as well as braille. Special education also needs to be a part of regular school training curriculum. She being a specially abled woman, had experienced growing up by convincing other about her abilities and that people were either skeptical or sympathetic towards her.
There were many schools where she did get admission but equal opportunity is where her father had to fight as schools offered special opportunity while he wanted equal platform and treatment for her. She also stressed that the teachers need to change their attitude wherein some are extremely liberal and some are very strict with children of special needs. The idea is to have teachers who treat them just like other children. As per her both the methods are apparently harmful to the kids as their either make the kids over confident or just hamper their potential from coming out due to over appreciation. The inclusive right needs to be there from childhood a child needs to be compassionate towards differently abled peers of theirs for better understanding and co-existence.
She even harped upon the need to have a specially designed curriculum for children with special needs. For example, an autistic child is unable to study a few languages and if forced to do so with the same curriculum, wouldn’t help. Instead if a special curriculum is designed for them, it would help.
She also harped that the current system of education is trying to push inclusive education methodology but the holistic approach required to do so is missing yet. The need of the hour is to have workshops around the sensitization of the issue and the focus needs to be on how all the children can grow together in one positive environment.
Parenting children with special needs is never a cake walk but if it can be a smoother ride if you keep a few points in mind. Here is a run-down a few tips that could help you around managing your child with special needs and even making their life easier.
MAKE YOUR CHILD INDEPENDENT – We as parents always want to be around our kids whenever they need us. We want to give them whatever they want and make their life easier and as comfortable as possible. But, have you ever thought that, you ain’t going to be around them forever. A time will come when they will be left all on their own. So, start early at grass-root. Try to make the child need you less in his/ her daily routine. For example, if you are teaching your child brush teeth. Do it for him or her first, then do it together. You brush yours and let the child brush his or her’s and finally let the child to do it independently.
GO SLOW – Parenting a child with special needs could be hectic and taxing. There are chances you get frustrated, irritated and freak out as well. Sometimes we tend to run out of patience be it making the child eat, or read, write or learn something. The idea is to go slow. Put ourselves in the shoes of the child and then think about everything. Once you learn to do so it will be a less bumpy ride for you. By slowing down, it also means to appreciate the smallest of the moments and find happiness in the kids.
ACCEPT THAT YOUR’S IS A DIFFERENT CHILD – The faster you come to terms with the fact that your child with special kids is different than other kids and are chances that he or she could not be doing as well academically as the peers, the better for you. Nonetheless, you may work around with your child to make him or her better. Many a times parents have expectations or dreams for their children. They many a times want their children to realize their own dreams that could not be realized for some or the other reason. But, you need to understand that every child is different and unique and has their own set of desires and dreams too. Forcing your child to do or become what you’ve always wanted to is not a good idea. Understand that every cloud comes with a silver lining and so does your child with special needs.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE WORLD – People would keep saying stuff to you around the condition of your child and more. But, it’s your choice how you take it. You do not need to obsess over it. A better idea is to leave it or ignore. You have to know that you have a child who is a bit different then others but if you go to see every child is unique and has unique qualities too.
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*Sourced from the Internet
In today’s times when fees of schools are skyrocketing and raising a child needs a lot of planning, raising a child with special needs is even costlier because additional expenditures on medicines, therapies and care is needed. But, things can get easier and stress free if you plan properly or rather ahead of time. Here are few tips to help you plan out the expenses of your child so that you need no face any financial issues in the times of need or emergency.
DECIDE ON A BUDGET – Once you’re aware that your child has a disability is the time you gear up and plan on a budget depending upon factors like the type of disability, life expectancy, needs and earning ability in the future as well as your own income. Start with longer investments and scale down to monthly savings for the same. You may make division of funds depending upon the different needs of the child like school expenses, recreational expenses, therapy and medicines and more. So you get an idea of the approximate monthly expense of your child. While planning do take the inflation rate into account.
HAVE A SEPARATE EMERGENCY FUND – Setting up an emergency fund is also a top priority. This will help you live without stress and have enough money to meet your financial requirements if any expense crops up for the child. This money could be kept in fixed deposits or liquid funds so that liquidising them in times of need is real easy.
INSURANCE IS A MUST HAVE – Insurance needs to be at the top of your list and should be at least 10 times your annual income. Annuity plans are good option to be financially secure when the parents grow old and the child ages too. Investing in health insurance policies for children with special needs is also a good idea.
TRUST FOR THE CHILD – This is a part of a vision plan so that your child can receive all the benefits in case anything happens to the parents. For the same a good idea is to set up a trust and appointing a person who will act for the interest of the child.
INVEST IN YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING – A special child not only has special needs but special skills that can be honed in order to help the child to excel. It’s not just the skills that help the child to shape a career but even basic skills that help the child live a quality life like manages finances, self-care and independence, to name a few.
Special children only have special needs and if they are fulfilled, these children do blossom into beautiful flowers spreading their fragrance all around them.
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*Sourced from the Internet
A recent study carried out by the researchers of the University of Helsinki, Finland as well as University College London have found – hobbies that include music and more so singing can benefit the children who are hearing impaired with cochlear implants. The lead author of this study Ritva-Torppa said that the children who are hearing impaired and have the cochlear implants and sing on a regular basis. Hence, children with hearing impairment can learn music and singing at home and also take help of the traditional Finnish musical play schools.
As per this expert communication skills as well as the ability to perceive speech in noise is of great significance in academics. Hence, all children need to pursue music but particularly hearing impaired children need to learn music, singing more so. Another expert who was supervising the study mentioned that even though musical hobbies have great significance they aren’t available to all. She also added that in her country Finland, they do have very high quality of music culture for children.
The study included participation of few children in musical sessions while some did not. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Music perception. The results as per researchers did imply that singing of parents is important. Huotilainen also suggested that the kids that are kept in day care should also be considered for the music sessions and said that as per her opinion music had to be used every day for support learning. She went on to explain how it gives children the possibility to enjoy music, singing and the benefits they bring, she explained.
Well, it is a known fact as on how music has worked wonders as a therapy in more ways than one and hence its use in helping hearing impaired kids does make sense.
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*Sourced from the Internet
“Inclusive good quality education
is the foundation of equitable societies “
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.
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*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.
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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.