Ms. Manila Carvalho, Principal of DPS Bangalore East
Children with Special Needs form an important part of the inclusion in schools. All that these children need is some extra care and concern from the teachers to strengthen their skills. Acceptance by the teachers and classmates form the basis for collaborative learning. Children with Special Needs do not need sympathy but empathy, from those dealing with them as well as support in their learning. This will in itself, help them manage their daily routines with ease.
Some of the strategies for managing Children with Special Needs in the classroom are the following:
Teacher Training: All the teachers must be oriented at regular intervals about the inclusion policy of the school so that their mindset is aligned towards planning the learning outcomes accordingly. Required materials should be provided to the teachers to support their teaching-learning process.
Orientation for the students and support staff: Students and other support staff of the school need to be oriented to respect the person with special needs and lend a helping hand wherever possible.
Realignment of pedagogy and assessment: We could consider reducing the content and make it customized for these children depending on a case-to-case basis. Technology-integrated teaching could be introduced to make learning interesting for these children. Assessment could be made student-friendly keeping in mind the specific objectives. Adapted paper could be made available in addition to the scribe facility and exemption in certain subjects could be considered based on the severity of the case.
Parent Buddy: Teachers can have parents as a buddy to help the child out in the classroom if the child is hyperactive in nature. The buddy can monitor the child and support the child in completing the assigned task.
Shadow Teacher: Having a shadow teacher in class facilitates the child to focus on the important concepts taught as well as to complete work that is required for the progression of the child.
Support of the counsellor and special educator: When the Children with Special Needs exhibit inappropriate behavior, the special educator and counsellor can provide support to the teacher so that the activities planned for the classroom teaching are conducted fruitfully without hindrance.
Transaction of learning in the classroom: The Teacher must acquire the complete history of the students with special needs so that she can proceed from simplex to complex instruction style in order to bring out the best in these children. The teacher can also break the entire learning concept into small bits by repeating it many times. Abstract concept to make concrete by providing experiential learning is essential.
Facilitating need-based activities: Depending on the special needs of the child, the teacher must incorporate activities such as puppetry, storytelling, dramatics, sports, performing arts etc. for optimum benefits.
Learning ambience: The teacher should provide a comfortable and friendly learning atmosphere in the class for the children with special needs. The infrastructure needs to be user-friendly and maintained well.
The strategies mentioned above if followed religiously in the classrooms, can bring out the best in the children with special needs.