How To Engage With Children With Special Needs

Students with Autism, Down syndrome and Learning Disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia & dyscalculia are helped by differentiated teaching and learning

Identification is the most important step in an Inclusive setup in a school. The inclusive setup consists of counselors and special educators. As we can guess, in any issue or concern, eventually, we need a diagnosis or prognosis of the matter. Without this, we cannot proceed further to guide and support the same. Similarly, we have various psychological and general tools to identify the issue or condition that the student is facing. Once identified, there are various other steps that we need to follow.

Step 1: Observation

Observation is a comprehensive terminology. We can divide it further into different kinds of observations that are carried out.

Observation by teachers: They observe that some children need that extra support, some may need more time, and some have different abilities. However, there are times when this observation may be narrowed down to one or two students who show concerning mannerisms in academics or behaviour. Later it is referred to the inclusive department, and then the next process begins.

Observation by parents: Few parents are quite alert about their children’s behavior as they observe them daily and might bring certain alarming behaviors or academic issues to the notice of the school, but at times, they may get them tested by themselves in some of the reputed psychological testing centers. The reports are then shared with the Inclusion Team.

Observation by inclusion team: Regularly, the team conducts a scheduled observation session. These observations include observing students during their lesson time, during their extra-curricular activities, when they are by themselves in the canteen or the play area and during their interaction with their peers. Again, if the team finds a concerning mannerism in academics or behavior, it is noted and then further procedures are carried out

Once the observation report by teachers or parents is submitted to the inclusion team, another observation by the Inclusion Team is scheduled to investigate the behavioural and academic concerns expressed by the parents and teachers. 

Step 2: Parent Meetings

Sharing the observations with them. They would generally not take much time and would come back to the Inclusive team for further guidance. In case the parents are in denial, then the team conducts debriefing sessions.

Step 3: Psychoeducational Testing and Analysis, Engagement and Access

Psychoeducational testing is a comprehensive assessment of a student's cognitive, academic and socio-emotional functioning. Tests usually are standardised such that students' scores are compared in these core areas to other students of the same age and gender. Meanwhile, remediation and behaviour control is initiated, till psycho-educational reports are submitted and the problem is identified.

Students with Autism, Down Syndrome and Learning Disabilities like Dyslexia, Dysgraphia & Dyscalculia are helped by differentiated teaching and learning. An Individualised Education Plan (IEP) and a Counselling Plan or a Psychological Treatment plan are scheduled for the concerned student. Access Arrangement is initiated in the classroom and during extra-curricular activities. Examination concessions like extra time, reading, writing and rest breaks are implemented during Assessments.

Students with behavioural concerns are supported and accompanied by shadow teachers depending on the severity of the condition. Some students are taught to operate independently and manage their behaviour after constant therapy on behavioural rectification and management. Considerable rest breaks are given to students with Attention and Impulsive conditions. Teachers are trained and assisted regularly and are also given strategies to help support inclusive students in their classrooms.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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