special needs

A principal of an alternative school writes about the challenges she faces especially in special education and her interaction with families and parents.


I stood at the doorway and watched as the little group of kindergarteners filed into the art class. They were filled with anticipation. Roselyn, my young colleague, always set up her art session with a little takeaway for every type of learner. As I watched her work with the children I was filled with awe. Making your own choice, she said, was important. Every child is creative, and has his or her unique style. Children have different views, some want action and like to work in threes and fours. They are happiest in a group.

The article makes a case for including children with special needs in the regular school system highlighting the multiple interpretations of inclusive education in India and how these impact its interpretations for policy. The author urges individual effort on part of schools to adopt teaching and learning practices that support the learning needs of children with special needs and in effect improve learning for all the children in the classroom. 

Early Intervention in the childhood years caters to children in the 0-6 year age range. During this period, three big opportunities for early identification of developmental disabilities arise. The first instance arises at the hospital when infants with birth defects are detected and intervention started right away. The second instance is when children show delays in speech and language development usually emerging in the second year of life and the third arises in preschool when children’s play behaviours are expanding to include playmates.

Inclusion is a buzz word. It has currency and a feelgood tone. But the method of operating inclusive education largely remains like the letter x in Algebra, the unknown factor! 

What steps can teachers take to have a truly inclusive classroom? Saravanan P., an Inclusive Education Coordinator, gives us the answers, in this article published in Thisaimani (Journey 2) - an APF-Puducherry District Institute publication.

Written by Sujatha Padmanabhan and illustrated by Madhuvanti Anantharajan, this book looks at inclusive schooling and children with special needs, and is inspired by true instances in villages of Ladakh.

‘Inclusion’ is a much talked about word these days. While a lot of people are at least coming to terms with the fact that the disabled are also human beings like us with emotions and feelings, there is still a long way to go if we are to see true inclusion of the disabled into our society. We have made a beginning by declaring that ‘special’ children should not be denied education in regular schools, but have we thought about how a teacher who is ill equipped to handle such children will manage?

We have all grown up knowing that there are normal schools and schools for children with special needs. Children with different needs went to different schools. But today it is widely believed that special children will benefit more by going to regular schools. So how can a teacher manage and care for a special child along with 40 or 50 normal children?

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