All Together

- Article by Ms. Charanjit Kaur Chodda (Special Educator at Bombay Cambridge International School, Andheri East)

Remedial assistance given by the CARE Centre personnel is enriched twice as much when teachers support it. It is only then that there is consistency in the expectations of performance from the child as well as regular drilling of the methods or strategies that the student could implement. The child is probably taken for a few hours in a week by the CARE Centre personnel, but the teacher has daily interaction with the child.

Some things that have helped are:

1. When teachers demand and consistently follow up with the CARE Centre personnel, as it is the teacher who observes the performance of the child in class, every small step would help in navigating the performance.

2. When a teacher comes up with a plan, a strategy or method, their creativity, interest and involvement is at the highest. As teachers, they have had a varied experience with different kinds of children and their input is very valuable for CARE Centre.

3. The teacher’s clarity of a child’s strengths and limitations enables the CARE Centre as well as the teacher to strategize a plan.

4. The teacher’s focus on the child’s strengths – the teacher can reduce the limitations and increase the strengths. This enables the teacher to pass on positive vibes and help the child to perform his/her best.

5. The teacher’s trust in the department. CARE Centre is an assistive department which focuses on helping with the smooth and better functioning of the school – if a teacher believes in this thought, and also transfers these thoughts to the children, then equal importance is given to mental health.

CARE Centre cannot function all by itself to help the child, it is important that the team of adults who play a significant role in the child meet and plan. In an ideal situation, the parent, teacher, CARE Centre personnel, and other professionals meeting, works wonders.
I would like to share how help from teachers helped us to integrate a child with special needs in our system.

A 4 year old child with Asperger’s Syndrome was taken in our Senior K.G. The child was a hyperlexic with good language skills, but had challenges in expressive language, social skills and understanding, and being sensitive to moods and emotions of others as well as self.

Initially, the CARE Centre observed and recorded the observations on a daily basis. The observations were discussed and shared with the teachers. Any changes or alternatives that the teacher could try, was worked out. Soon the child was handed over totally to the teacher; the CARE Centre just monitored the performance and progress. The teachers would observe the child and come and mention if they had seen anything significant.

Meeting the therapists (occupational, speech and language as well as the physiotherapists) with the teachers, the parents and the CARE Centre personnel helped understand the child holistically. Plans or strategies were discussed and a specific one that each one agreed to, was finalized.
The teachers handled the child using all the information that was given, along with their understanding of the child. They had similar expectations from the child as they would of any other student in class. Their consistency in expectation as well as regularity helped the child to understand the boundaries and follow the rules.

With consistency in the strategy implemented for 2-3 years, the child is presently functioning well in class and is on the CARE Centre follow up list. The child does not require individual attention or supervision from the teacher or even the parent. This shows how team effort and open discussions about the detailed observation and interpretations helped the child to adapt to the surroundings.