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Monday, January 23, 2012

Inclusion in Mainstream schools

Classroom accomodations can make a huge difference for students diagnosed with ADHD. With effective planning and a patient teacher, students with ADHD can flourish in the classroom. Parents can work with their child's IEP team to be sure that appropriate accommodations are in place for their child. Here is a list of classroom accommodations and suggestions that can may make the learning environment more manageable for students diagnosed with ADHD.

-- Seat the student near the teacher's desk avoiding distractions such as windows and doors
--Simplify complex directions and avoid multiple commands
--Have the student utilize a daily assignment notebook. It may be a good idea for the teacher and parent to to sharenotes.
--Reduce assignments to the chid's attentional abilitiy
--Allow additional time to complete assignments
--Allow sensory or movement breaks
--Provide a "fidget" at the student's desk such as  a squeeze-ball
--Break long term assignments into shorter assignments
--Give the student immediate feedback and immediate consequences
--Provide the student with an extra set of books at home
--Have extra materials/supplies available for the student in the classroom
--Provide the student with a copy of the class notes to highlight as he goes along

Learning Disability

Learning Disability

Lazy, underachiever, unmotivated, lack of desire to learn, fails to complete assignments, immature. Do these descriptions ring a bell? Living with an "invisible" disability can be extremely frustrating for a child and his parents. When a child is unable to meet educational expectations, typically, an emphasis may be first placed on the child's behaviors. Not every learning disability is readily apparent; some may be far more subtle and harder to diagnose. Unless a child shows clear-cut delays in development, he may fall through the cracks.

Learning disabilities have a wide range of categories, even talented and gifted children can have a learning disability in another area of learning. Learning disabilities are  lifelong,  however, they certainly do not hamper an individual's ability to become a valuable member of society. A learning disability does NOT mean that the person cannot learn. It simply means, that modifications may need to be made to enhance learning.

The most common learning disabilities are:

  • Dyslexia--difficulties in the language area, which may include reading, spelling, and understanding the concept or meaning of the message within the text.
  • Dysgraphia--difficulties in writing letters and/or keeping the written work within a confined space.
  • Dyscalculia--difficulties in the area of math, which include basic math facts and understanding math concepts.
  • Auditory and Visual Processing--difficulties in sensory integration, although the child has normal vision and hearing, processing in the environment is overwhelming.

Approximately, 65% of our language is non-verbal. Individuals are assessed by their language abilities, which includes writing, speaking, spelling, and reading.

Nonverbal learning disorders (NLD) are also called right-hemisphere learning disorders. NLD is a neurological based learning disorder. This is a complicated learning disorder because it's hard to identify, it often remains undiagnosed, and the children who have it, tend to be misdiagnosed. Children with NLD possess strong skills particularly in the area of language development and rote memory. However, because of the child's inability to interpret non-verbal cues in his environment, it is very difficult for him to understand and respond appropriately.

Children who have NLD exhibit delays in the following areas:

  • Motor--difficulties in coordination and balance.
  • Visual--spatial-organizational-difficulties in visual-spatial recall and perceptions.
  • Social--difficulties in recognizing non-verbal cues and nuances, the inability to interact at an age-appropriate social level, and immature reactions and judgements in comparison to peers.
  • Coping--difficulties in assimilating to new concepts and environments.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) has recently been renamed Auditory Processing Disorder(APD). Typically, the majority of us can learn and process despite background noise. APD is the inability to process language within our environment. Children who are at risk for APD are preemies, kids who have had chronic ear infections, those who are highly distractible and children diagnosed with  ADD/ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, and PDD( the autism spectrum).

If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, early intervention is essential. Talk to your child's physician. Contact an early intervention program in your area, or an education specialist. Headstart is an excellent program that works with "at-risk" preschool children. If you suspect that your school-aged child is having difficulties, request an assessment by the school professionals. Empower yourself by researching learning disabilities and most importantly, don't be afraid to speak up on behalf of your child. You are the best advocate for your child, so don't get discouraged and by all means, be persistent.

AIKYA offers both full and part time intervention for LD and slow learners, with occupational and creative movement therapy. Children in Stds. I, II and III are taught different methods of learning along with therapy and other skills for around two years before getting back to mainstream school. For students — from Class VII and above, a full-time intervention is recommended, a private appearance for the Government Eighth Standard examination, then a move to the National Open School, and thereafter a vocational stream. Part-time intervention is recommended for younger children till the Class III level, for one hour

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Anti-Smoke Bhogi Rally by AIKYA at Nageswara Rao Park

Special children of AIKYA, parents, special educators, Team Everest volunteers, Lions club members, Mylai police, and Chennai Social Service volunteers participated in a walk in Nageswara Rao park, Mylapore on 13th Jan at 7:30 am. Everyone carried a placard that had slogans about the ill-effects of burning old things on Bhogi day.

Devarajan, Lions Club President (of Chennai &Padi) and Rajkumar, Secretary of  Team Everest flagged off the walk. The participants shouted slogans and walked the entire stretch of the park. As there were several enthusiastic health freaks walking in the park, the slogan " Burn your calories, Do not burn trash" became very apt.

This is the first activity of the Social Responsibility Cell(SRC) of Serve India. The police, Ms. Parvathy of AIKYA, Kartheeban and Rajkumar of Team Everest spoke a few words about volunteering and bad effects of air pollution. Prema of Team Everest had taken great pains (cycling included!) to make the placards and flags at the last minute. Overall, it was a very successful and happy event for one and all.

Lions Club President Devarajan waving the flag to start the walk

Placards and Slogans - There we go!

Police was our friend

(L-R) Kartheeban, Prema, and Ms. Parvathy

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Tamil Poem about Bhogi

AIKYA Opens Social Responsibility Cell (SRC)

The Social Responsibility Cell(SRC) was inaugurated at AIKYA on 11th Jan, 2012. SRC inculcates the spirit of giving and sharing amongst school kids through a range of activities. SRC is an initiative of Serve India of Team Everest.

Prema of Team Everest asked the children of AIKYA the meaning of the word Help. She then enquired how they helped their parents and grandparents at home. She asked if they shared their pencil and pen with their neighbours in class. In a lighter vein she asked if they stole anything from their classmates and if that was a help too. Ms. Parvathy, Director of AIKYA, wondered if the children can help their parents if they just kept quiet and did their work!

Later, Sukumaran a volunteer of Team Everest from CTS spoke to the kids about volunteering atleast once a month (12/365). The children were very happy to get badges for their various roles in SRC - Class Pilot, Student Secretary, and Student Head.

To view event pics, click here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

AIKYA's Product Brochure

The food and products division of AIKYA makes a lot of products such as gift cards, areca plates, jewellery, and more. The products are made by young adults with special needs. If you buy a product made by AIKYA you will help us to help a special child. You will also make a differently-abled person independant and confident and makes him/her feel they are contributing to society.

Click here to view AIKYA's product brochure. 

Here is an interesting summary of how AIKYA makes Areca Plates:

AIKYA takes great care to make quality products. The raw materials for the Areca plates are bought from Coimbatore. The raw materials are soaked and dried.

The dried materials are then fed to areca plate making machines. AIKYA has four machines that can make plates in the sizes of 6,8,10, and 12 inches.

A person with special needs who has good physical styrength then presses a pulley/weight with his/her leg. This action cuts the plates into shape. Care should be taken to make maximum plates out of a sheath of raw material.