Important Tips For Working With A Special Needs Child

When living with a disability, one of the most common barriers to success faced by children and youth is feeling excluded at school. Students may be treated differently in the classroom, by their teachers and their peers, and may feel like they are not part of a whole. This could happen unintentionally or due to a lack of understanding. Following these simple tips can solve the problem and create a more inclusive environment at school:

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Image source : us.sulekhalive.com

1. Don’t assume

TIP: Never make assumptions about what a student can/cannot do. What you see is not always what you get. It is more important to understand a situation by asking questions and educating yourself rather than by making assumptions.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: I have abilities and would like to have the opportunity to use those abilities to learn just like other students. Please see me first as a person, then see my disability, not the other way around.

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Image credit : http://www.abcindia.org

2. Always communicate

TIP: The best way to be sure of anything is through good communication. This means communicating with students about their needs and feelings, communicating with parents about any situation and their expectations, and articulating your own experiences as well. Take the guesswork out of it.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: I have feelings too and in most cases I am able to share those feelings in one way or another. If you want to know how I feel or how I am doing, just ask!

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Image credit :  www.abcindia.org

3. Take the time to listen

TIP: The best way to communicate and understand is to listen. Parents are a child’s greatest advocate and can provide specific strategies for the individual needs of their child. Asking questions is important, but without listening closely to the answers, there is no real value. Listen with your heart, not your head. What you feel is the right thing, usually is.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Sometimes I feel like I’m being ignored. No matter how hard I try to say or show what I am feeling or experiencing, it is like no one is listening. How am I supposed to feel included if I am being ignored?

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4. Empathy is key

TIP: Look at things from the student’s perspective. Be compassionate, caring and understanding of others’ feelings and experiences. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself how you would feel, or what you would want in a similar situation.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: I do not feel sorry for myself, so why should you feel sorry for me? Taking pity on me only makes me feel worse and more isolated. It is more helpful when you try to understand what I am going through. Consider the room’s arrangement: can everyone move around? Do I have the same access as others?

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5. Do not categorize

TIP: When working with students, it is often easier to categorize than to spend the time and treat everyone as an individual. However, everyone has their own abilities and disabilities. To create an inclusive classroom, take the time to identify the individual needs of all students.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Just because I am different, it does not mean I am the same as everyone else who is. We each have our own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. If you take the time to learn about me as an individual, I am more likely to succeed.

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6. Be an enabler

TIP: Where there is a will, there is a way. If a child wants to skydive, there has got to be a way to make it happen! And even if there is not, it is your responsibility to at least try. Take the word “no” out of your vocabulary and replace it with the attitude that anything is possible. It’s contagious.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: I have hopes and I have dreams but my motivations can quickly disappear with one simple word: no. When I hear the word yes, I feel stronger, happier and more empowered.

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7. Plan for accessibility

TIP: True inclusion is not just placing students with disabilities in the classroom. It means that all students are learning in a respectful environment. Are group activities and peer interactions set up in a way that is mutually respectful? Do not let students with disabilities be an afterthought when planning lessons and activities. Make them an equal part in the process.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Just because I am here it does not mean I am always being included. Think about me and others with disabilities in everything you do or plan. We are here all the time but we do not always feel like we are being included.

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8. Be supportive

TIP: Things are not always going to be easy for you, the students or the parents. The best way you can handle a situation is to be supportive. Come to the table with a solutions-based approach and a positive attitude.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Remember, I am a child first and a student second. Sometimes I just need a helping hand and some support like everyone else. Positivity and encouragement inspire me and confirm my ability to achieve success.

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image credit : http://www.indiaspend.com

9. Teach inclusion to everyone

TIP: Transform perspectives by educating your students about accessibility and inclusion and modelling successful inclusion. If you have questions about disability, accessibility and inclusion, chances are others in the classroom will too. Incorporate equity, inclusion and accessibility through all classroom communication and activities will generate a more accepting atmosphere as a result.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: My peers often look at me differently not because they do not care but because they do not understand. You and I may get it, but not everyone else knows what it is like to live with a disability – especially at school. Educating them about it is as important as including me.

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10. Treat everyone equally

TIP: It is the golden rule to treat others the same way you want to be treated. This is not only true for students with disabilities but for everyone in the classroom, at school, and in society. Treating everyone equally, giving equal opportunity and remove undue barriers also removes impediments to success and achievement.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: I want to be treated like everyone else. I may need some accommodations at times to meet my needs, but mostly I want to be part of what everyone is doing. I can be encouraged to grow and to be my best, just like any other student. And I can do great things. Everyone can.

Information source : http://www.rickhansen.com

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Language Barrier Problem For Indian Rural Schools

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At present, India is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia as well as the world. In the last few years, it has made great progress in a number of different fields and also established itself as a seat of opportunities in the international market. All that sounds very good. But how far ahead has our country managed to traverse in terms of education? Well, educational institutions in the urban areas are offering even better facilities than before. However, contrastingly, their rural counterparts aren’t doing very well. And one of the major reasons behind their underperformance is language barrier problem. Many people might disagree with this and say that quality of the instructing teachers is what matters the most. Well, that’s also true to some extent, but language barrier stands as a greater impedance to better rural education in India.

In most schools of Indian villages, vernacular languages are more popular as instruction media instead of English. But the nature of resources and job markets make it mandatory for everyone to have at least basic level knowledge in English. And increasing interaction of Indian economy with the global market would only continue to accentuate the importance of English.

As such, now more than ever, there is an urgent need for equipping our rural children with English alongside other vernacular mediums so that they don’t lag behind when exposing themselves to national as well as international job opportunities. There is just a small challenge that has to be addressed for making this happen, however, and that is, making quality teachers as well as textbooks available for the rural schools.

First of all, usage of the English dialect has to be encouraged and also increased, in addition to making efforts for designing evaluations in a manner that allows students to learn vernacular & their translations in English effectively. In this way, the effort invested by the students for remembering technical terms would be substantial, no matter what language they are in.

Furthermore, for eliminating the language barrier, government and non-government bodies can introduce adjustments within textbooks written in English. This would help students to have a better grasp of whatever they learn in class, irrespective of the quality of learning.

Navigational ease for comprehension of English will establish a dynamic foundation for creation of equal opportunities for everyone and also help our country to progress as a whole.

Blending The Life Of Rural Indians With Their Urban Counterparts

Blending The Life Of Rural Indians With Their Urban Counterparts
Is it enough to provide jobs, skills and training to a generation of rural men and women instead of focusing on equal opportunities for their children?

It has been seen that in rural India, despite of the rapid economic growth, the inhabitants do not get equal opportunities compared to those born in urban India. One of the most common examples is the former president of India, Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who came from such a background and became the chief of DRDO and also the honour to be the first citizenship of India. But what about his friends, relatives or neighbours from his native village? The people of India never look at those who are left behind.

Addressing hunger

Everything we do is for our tummy. Thus, it all starts with food-sufficiency. It is often said “bhookhe pait bhajan na hoye”, which translates to food in adequate quantities is necessary before pursuing something. Remember, there is a big difference surviving and thriving.

This means addressing hunger and poverty must be the first priority. Taking this into consideration naturally uplifts health, nutrition and education. Social progress in terms of gender, family relationships and caste can also be developed. In the recent times, cash has been flowing increasingly but that is not enough. There are still some places which experience child malnourishment, maternal and infant mortality. Rural citizens have lesser decision making powers and almost no control over their own assets.

Education plays the key role

Access and quality of education is the major concern in rural schools as there are fewer committed teachers, lack of proper informative books and learning materials. This is why, an initiative has been taken by some of the non-profit organisations in India to provide appropriate rural education.

These organisations are mainly operated by NGOs and thus, majority of people living in villages have understood the importance of education. It is also clear to them that education is the only way to get rid of poverty. Today, people are not dependent only on government schools, as acquiring education has become a lot easier. Even the number of teachers has increased, that too with a commitment. Education for rural children in India has never been so easier with the help of such non profit organisations.

When it comes to rural India, urban citizens must not underestimate them and in general, it has been seen that villagers too give a tough fight in all aspects of the urban world.

Understanding & Supporting Kids With Learning Disabilities

 

DisabilitiesIt is always difficult and challenging task when it comes to improving the quality of people’s life with disabilities. World Health Organization reports that in the entire world, ten percent of the global population is affected by disability. But they also report that understanding and intervention for the ailments at an early age can help a lot in the future. This is why, understanding the disabilities is always appreciable.

Learning the disabilities

First, you need to understand the type of disorders and signs of the disability. Then only you can pinpoint the specific challenges related to the ailment and find a decisive treatment program that works. Every disabled person needs proper encouragement, nourishment, love and support. But when it comes to learning disabilities, these positive reinforcements can help to ensure a strong sense of confidence, inner-meaning and determination to keep going when things are tough.

In case you have a child with learning disabilities at home, as a parent your job is not to cure the problem, but to help your child by providing social and emotional tools that he or she needs to overcome the challenges. In the long run, the education (physical and mental) can let your child understand the life, thus growing stronger and more resilient. Keep in mind that the way you respond and behave to challenges creates a big impact on your child’s life. Showing a good attitude may not solve the problem but it can definitely give your child more confidence and hope.

What can you do to deal with your child’s learning disability?

Learning disabilities: The wand is in your hand: When you are dealing with learning disabilities, keep this in mind that everyone faces obstacles. It’s up to you how to deal with those obstacles without becoming discouraged or overwhelmed. Provide your child with plenty of moral and emotional support.

Be your own expert: Do your own research and come up with new ideas and developments in learning disability programs. It can be educational techniques and therapies. At the first stage, if you are not confident enough, you can take ideas from therapists, teachers, doctors and even home for children with disabilities. But remember, the baton of charge is in your hand and thus, you need to be careful while dealing.

Learning disabilities may be a bit complicated at the beginning, but once you become adept, things will be a lot easier.

Achievements’- Gold & Silver medals in State level Swimming Competition

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On the 10th of September, 2017, the Bengal Para Sports Association had organised an All Bengal Para Swimming Championship competition at Salkia Swimming Pool Association. The participants in the competition were boys & girls with special needs from all over the state of West Bengal. Students from Asha Bhavan Centre,  7 students from residential home with volunteers also participated. Our students with special needs participated in junior, sub-junior and senior competitions including freestyle 50 metre swimming race. It was very tough competition, however our students wins with flying colours which includes 4 gold & 3 silver medals. Others students from our  centre despite of having 80 to 90 percent of disabilities, all of them completed the 50 metre swimming event within 1½ minutes.On the 10th of September, 2017, the Bengal Para Sports Association had organised an All Bengal Para Swimming Championship competition at Salkia Swimming Pool Association. The participants in the competition were boys & girls with special needs from all over the state of West Bengal. Students from Asha Bhavan Centre,  7 students from residential home with volunteers also participated. Our students with special needs participated in junior, sub-junior and senior competitions including freestyle 50 metre swimming race. It was very tough competition, however our students wins with flying colours which includes 4 gold & 3 silver medals. Others students from our  centre despite of having 80 to 90 percent of disabilities, all of them completed the 50 metre swimming event within 1½ minutes.

Based in the Kathila campus of Howrah, Asha Bhavan Centre (ABC) dedicates its services to the development, growth and welfare of marginalised sections of society and underprivileged children as well as adults. ABC endeavor has been to reach out to unreached people with all walks of life and create awareness and  ensure  the rights of people with disabilities. The primary purpose of ABC India is to serve as a tribute for glorifying the dedication, spirit and perseverance of countless energy radiating & vibrant young minds, who are struggling everyday against odds to remove social inequality, poverty and illiteracy particularly in remote  rural villages.

Every year, more than forty five thousand beneficiaries receive the services offered by ABC from its different units. The organisation distributes aid and assistance to underprivileged communities through a wide range of useful initiatives, including:

  • Dominique Lapierre Home For Children with Disabilities, Kathila

  • Special school (Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme)

  • Vocational Training Unit

  • Orthopedic Workshop

  • Dominique Lapierre Home For Children with Disabilities, Keoradanga

  • Community Based Rehabilitation Department

  • Education Project Chain of BVM School

  • St. Teresa’s School

  • Rehabilitation Council of India Approved D.Ed.Spl.Ed. (M.R.) Course

  • Supplementary Education Program

  • Dispensary (Out Patient Department)

  • Supplementary Nutrition Program

  • Research Program for a Child with Cerebral Palsy (LEAP-CP)

  • SNAC
  • Disha
  • Sahyogi
  • Sponsorship Programme

In the near future, ABC would like to expand more serving to people  in further  remotest corners of the state as well as the nation. The entire team working behind the success of the organisation consistently strives to make meaningful opportunities available for marginalized communities to ensure their economic & social development. Their main goal is to create a better world for people with disabilities and uphold their equity, self confidence & dignity in the society. Build confidence and strengthen their potential with constant motivation and support  so that each individuals with various degrees of disabilities  would continue adding new feathers to their crown of achievements for many years to come.

Fun Crafts That Children With Disabilities Would Love To Work With

Art & crafts are more than just a lovely pastime for the summers. As of now, they are excellent sources of skills development, entertainment and income generation for many including children with disabilities. Apart from offering a social forum through which they can explore their creativity, the realm of art also provides an outlet for expression. Let’s take a look at some really simple craft projects that can be included in the activities of any home for children with disabilities.
Polymer Clay Fridge Magnets

Polymer Clay Fridge Magnets

Things Needed: Multicolored polymer clay, cookie cutters or plastic knives, glitter, paint & self adhesive magnet pieces.

Clay can greatly help kids having developmental disabilities to enhance their motor skills involving hands & arms, since the product must be rolled and pressed into shapes. Besides that, fridge magnets are easy & fun to make as well as useful. Moreover, very little instruction or guidance is necessary for preparing them.
Paper Mache Bowls

Paper Mache Bowls

Things Needed: Glue, 1”-2” multicolored paper strips, styrofoam or paper bowl forms (balloons will do too)

This one can be a wee bit messy, which is why it would need greater supervision. However, the project itself is rather simple, since it just requires applying paper pieces over inflated balloons or bowl forms. The strips can be applied using a paintbrush after being dipped in glue. Each bowl must be built using multiple layers of paper.

Terracotta Painted Pots
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Things Needed: Paints, brushes, terracotta pots

Painting is a diverse medium for projects related to arts and crafts, and does not necessitate too much skill either. As such, this task would not need a lot of supervision. There are plenty of health benefits associated with painting. According to research, it can improve the memory of those with Alzheimer’s. Painting has been proven to aid in developing problem solving skills, since it allows for personal expression through a blank canvas.
Fun Fireworks T-Shirts

Fun Fireworks T-Shirts

Things Needed: Multiple rubber puffer balls, paper plate, bright coloured fabric paints and white T-shirt.

Making fireworks T-shirts are not just fun and wearable crafts, but also excellent for kids with severe disabilities. First the fabric paints will have to be squirted on the paper plate. Next, the children can dip puffer balls into it and apply the colours onto the shirt. The patterns resulting from that would bear the semblance of exploding fireworks.

For more interesting craft ideas for special kids, you can check out online magazines or perhaps come up with some innovative idea of your own.