Aadhaar Counselling Centre



Learning is a birthright of everyone!

Toral and Anisaah (names changed)
Life is full of challenges! How well you deal with them and conquer them over decides your faith. When I started as a German teacher to the class VI, these two children were introduced to me; Toral with cerebral palsy and Anisaah- a slow learner. We were new to each other, the language was new. I was briefed and guided about both these children. The briefing helped me understand their issues and the counseling cell suggested ways to effectively impart them the knowledge.

After initial interaction I could feel the determination and focus in both of them. Toral is an intelligent child, but cannot write, think and respond fast. Anisaah is a slow learner, spellings are her enemies, but she is a fighter. Both these children were ready to go extra mile, all they needed was little support and push from their teacher. It was sufficient to trigger that fire in a teacher.

After initial hiatus things started falling in place. The remedial, extra attention, regular interaction, some encouragement were a part of regular routine with them. The counseling cell also guided well in setting their paper considering their requirements, for example Toral could cope with the normal syllabus, but could not speed up writing, hence he was given objective questions, where he had to write in one word or choose the correct option. Same was followed for Anisaah, but the content was reduced as she could not retain more. Modified papers, little encouragement boosted their confidence. All this started reflecting in their work and tests. Today, I am most delighted to inform that, Toral has achieved grade A2 and Anisaah B1 in my subject. Orals are also not left behind, they both can converse (a sentence or two), greet correctly in German. It is a movement of sheer joy to see the confidence and love in their eyes. After all, is it not the certificate a teacher gets from her students, when they learn and retain the subject she/ he is teaching and implement the knowledge effectively?
  1. Experience shared by Ms. Swapnaja Bhatt
  2. (Teacher at Navrachana School, Sama)


World Mental Health Day - 10th October, 2013



SCHOOL GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING SERVICES
With the increasing number of kids reporting various problems in the area of cognitions, learning, behavior and emotions, it is imperative that the School Mental Health Needs need to be addressed on time.

The journey begins from every  class teacher being a good observer in early identification of school related problems. A child and his areas of strengths and difficulties first comes in contact with the first teacher in the class.

Common behavioral problems like ADHD, ADD, Conduct disorders and Learning problems with respect to Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia and Other Learning Difficulties are commonly seen in classrooms today. Every child in terms of the classroom behavior and performance requires a personal space and adequate attention. Special needs children require various kinds of accommodations in the classroom environment. These accommodations are made functional and possible by applying the provisions given by the board and the modules of Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Peer educators and Peer Buddy apart from school teachers and counselors play an important role in providing a good academic, emotional and social support to the special needs child.

Case Study -1 of A VIth Grader
Rebecca (name changed) is a female student, aged 11yrs and 6mths. She was referred as she has poor concentration, is restless and lacks interest in studies. Her handwriting is illegible and spelling is poor. On enquiry, she reported difficulties with concentration, paying attention, organization, tidiness and listening.

Rebecca loves to play with She suffers from tonsillitis only when she catches a cold and either takes allopathic or homeopathic for treatment. According to her parents, Rebecca is happy, even tempered, social, and very affectionate. However, she is highly dependent even for routine tasks like reminders for brushing teeth. She is sluggish: takes time to start immediately whether it is getting out of bed, or settling to study. She prefers to watch television by sleeping on the couch. She gets hyper-tensed and cries for about two days prior to her examination result and then altogether forgets about it.

Rebecca loves to play with children of all ages. Cycling is her favorite hobby. She prefers to watch television when alone, but doesn’t get much time to do so because of her studies. She neither reads nor wants to be read to. She is well behaved in the presence of visitors. However, her parents are much concerned of her restlessness and immature behavior.

She started Kindergarten at the age of 4 yrs, changing school in Grade V due to change of residence. She has been having difficulty with concentration since Kindergarten, and has difficulty with following instructions in school. She used to confuse letters ‘b’,‘d’ till Grade III.

She has been taking tuitions every year in all subjects, as she has nobody to help her with her studies. She received remedial help for two months in Grade V, which had to be discontinued due to change of residence. She works independently. However, she puts in very little effort in school. She has many friends in school.

Her teachers say that she is restless and lacks interest in studies. According to her counselor, Rebecca lacks concentration in class and is mostly inattentive and seems to be engrossed in other thoughts.

CASE STUDY 2
SLOW LEARNING IS BETTER THAN NO LEARNING
SUCCESS STORY…

Raja (name changed) at the age of 6yrs, a boy with peculiar characteristics was first noticed at his initial school to be very different from others.
He refused to communicate with his teachers, was unable to make friends in the class and being in the class for 6hrs a day, was always found Lost and Sad. His notebook had the least written work as he was very slow to write and he always forgot to get the timetable to school.

He had a younger sibling with whom his sibling rivalry was at the peak and being in a joint family set-up, he was pampered to a great extent. He started being very demanding at home, especially to get new purchases done for himself very frequently along with eatables of his choice.

The child was taken to the Counselor, wherein the parents were suggested to go for a formal assessment with respect to the child’s learning lags.
The child was diagnosed with Learning Disability with an IQ of 136. This gifted dyslexic had a difficult time in his first school, as inspite of all investigations done, the school and the board did not have provisions to accommodate the child in the school.

He continued for another three years in the same school with a lot of struggle in academic and behavioral areas. The mother, out of all family members, was most co-operative and reasonable towards the child’s needs and struggles.

Raja was then introduced to the city’s remedial educator, who made a great impact in the child’s life. Her hours of individual work with the child made his abilities outshine and difficulties put into good practice.

The School could not continue with the child, as his requirement for special needs were not fulfilled.
The parents had a turbulent time, visiting a number of schools of their choices, but to their despair, no school was ready to accept the child with his challenges and demands.  Fortunately one of the school’s secondary grade teacher wanted to take up this challenge/cause with least exposure and support in the area of Learning Disability.

Today, the child has been almost for a year in the school, he still has a good challenge when it comes to writing and written work. The Oral Examination taken in this new school has led to a significant confidence level in the child. He smiles more and he has started socializing too. His behavioral problems are being tackled by the School Counselor and the Remedial Educator. His special tutors and special teachers are making a good difference by getting the child to write in the class and at home with ease (It’s slow but things are happening).Networking of  services always helps in bringing up Special Needs children to their unique abilities and capabilities.

 

ROLE OF TEACHERS AT ALL TIMES

  • Encourage the student
  • Find something that he/she is good at
  • Give the student less homework
  • Mark written work on content (not spelling)
  • Make sure the student understood and remembered instructions.
  • Let the student work with the text book open
  • Put important words on the blackboard clearly
  • Give plenty of time to copy from the blackboard
  • Have expectations of success!!!!
TAKE HOME MESSAGES
  • Children who have learning difficulties are just as normal as children who do not suffer from this problem. They look normal and behave normal, too, it’s just that they have problems in reading, writing or memorizing.
  • Teachers need to become aware of the pressures they place on the child, they should encourage the child. Having a healthy dialogue with them will make the child feel better.
  • The most important challenge is to refrain from labeling a child because then the child only continues to fulfill that label.
  • May be your student is slightly slow in one subject but can be passionate about drawing, playing a sport or music.
  •  Instead of begrudging the child, encourage her/him to do what they love. We as teachers and Counselors need to have the capacity to be open for such generosity.
 


                  Ms Jamila Firdaus
                  Head Psychologist and Counselor
                  Navrachana School, Vadodara                
                  May 2013