கற்க கசடறக் கற்பவை கற்றபின்
நிற்க அதற்குத் தக. (Thirukkural - 391)
"Karka Kasatarak Karpavai Katrapin
Nirka Adharkuth Thaka"
Saint Poet Thiruvalluvar in his ancient script Thirukkural wrote "Lore worth learning, learn flawlessly Live by that learning thoroughly". He says further, letter and numbers are the two eyes of a man, the unlearned are inferior to the learned, before whom they stand begging, as the destitute before the wealthy. Unfortunately, a section of the children are diagnosed with a significant deficit in learning due to a person’s inability to interpret what is seen and heard, or to link information from different parts of the brain, which is known as "Learning Disability". American Association of Mental Retardation defines learning disability as “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.
Children with specific learning disability (SLD) are often pushed out of schools due to academic underachievement. Our schools and teachers either put excessive pressure on those children without understanding their problems and exhibit lack of patience towards them. The children with Learning Disability who are left uncared and unassisted by teachers with expertise in remediation of SLDs will often get out of schools.
Children with learning disabilities are as smart or smarter than their peers. But they may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.
Many of these children, with difficulties in learning are branded as “unintelligent”, “ignorant”, “lazy” “slow learners”. When the manifesting symptom is behavioural, the children get labelled as “trouble makers”, a label that sticks because the performance and the behaviour continues without appropriate help and interventions.
Children with learning difficulties cannot be identified until they start going to school. Many children do not exhibit any signs until they engage in tasks which require certain kind of cognitive processing which becomes apparent then. Early diagnosis and intervention will certainly boost the confidence and courage in children to cope-up.
Learning disability is often associated with psychological issues. About 30% of children with learning disability have behavioural and emotional problems. Children with specific learning disability are at an increased risk of hyperactivity. There is a strong relationship between inattentiveness and reading disabilities. About 50% of the children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will have learning disabilities.
There are different types of learning disabilities such as:
With the right support and intervention, children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and flourish in their careers later in life. What they need is encouragement and support to make them realise their strengths and weaknesses, guidance and assistance from professionals for dealing with specific difficulties. Child centred instructional planning, individualised education programme appropriate to child’s special needs, continuous assessment for evaluating the progress are very much essential.
Feathers believes in systemic approach in addressing the issues of learning disabilities. It works with the mainstream school education system by working with in the primary schools run by the Government in rural areas with a trained special educator / volunteer. She undertakes remediation during the regular school hours by offering exclusive one-on-one session for the children, who have been identified with learning disabilities. She will assess the child for issues connected to learning disability such as vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status and motor abilities. She will follow up every aspect of remediation starting from assessment, planning and executing interventions and evaluation of progress.
The school volunteer adopts a child centred teaching and learning strategy by individualized goal setting and assessment, brain gym for boosting mental ability, follow sensorial teaching pedagogy using specialised teaching and learning materials. Occupational and Speech Therapy sessions are offered to the child under the supervision of certified therapists and learning will be facilities through play, drama, drawing and multimedia approach.