“If a child cannot learn in the way we teach … we must teach in a way the child can learn”: Ignacio Estrada
“No two individuals are alike” so true but mostly forgotten. As educators we could often tend to fit the child in the curriculum rather than making the curriculum suit the child’s needs. The words “inclusion” and “integration” give us that ray of hope where curriculum is planned to suit the needs of the child.
The Special Education Needs (SEN) Department of Pathways was set up with the aim of providing an inclusive environment for learning to students with mild to moderate learning disabilities and to those needing social and behavioral counselling. SEN at Pathways acts as a full-fledged support system, catering to the needs of students who are slow learners, and students diagnosed with Learning Disabilities such as ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia etc.
The support happens in various phases that include in-class support, remedial, support during prep and preparation for exams. Whereas in-class support helps them to deal with the curriculum demands of the class, the remedial classes focus on reinforcing concepts, developing language skills (reading and writing), memory skills, mathematical concepts, study skills, science concepts and organizational skills. Students are regularly counseled, motivated and encouraged to perform better. We often have to use different strategies and techniques keeping in mind both the student’s strengths and weaknesses. The strategies are both child centered and child friendly.
Our team looks after the special needs of all the students from Primary to Senior School, often helping in a wide variety of areas like academics, social, emotional and psychological growth, counseling, settling into the dorms and strengthening peer relations. With a lot of effort, our team has been able to mainstream a lot of students who are doing extremely well on their own thus taking the concept of Special Education to a completely different level.
Parents and guardians play a key role in the emotional, social, and academic development of a student with learning difficulties. Every effort is made to work in close collaboration with them at every stage. Pathways firmly believes in developing a strong partnership with parents and thus enables the pupils with disabilities to achieve their highest potential.
Considerable attention is paid to the child’s overall development and progress. It is the school’s aim to fully integrate each child into full school life and to develop the child’s self esteem in the classroom and through school activities. Thus working on the core objectives of the school- Learn, Work, Play, Think , LIVE, the SEN Team endeavors to help each child take one step forward in life! How we do it
Empowerment and Sensitization of teachers is very crucial in an inclusive set up like Pathways. This is done byhaving regular strategies, review and sensitization meetings, discussions and observation sessions. ‘Differentiation’ or differential learning” is emphasized to promote greater inclusion. Simple changes like
- more visual stimulus,
- sitting arrangements like having anxious children sitting or stand in the last row,
- designing appropriate worksheets with varied font size and spacing,
- using different materials, technology, prompting,
- having a sensory ball in a pocket, reading frame,
- a small sensory corner in the classroom to unwind,
- mixing ability levels to have peer support,
- concentration or thinking corner,
- movement breaks
are some of the small changes that lead to big differences.Some success stories and comments from Parents(These have deliberately been kept anonymous)
- “My daughter is enjoying every bit of the learning, sharing and doing processes the school so gently encourages and nurtures. She is gradually progressing in her friendships too. She even shares her eating successes with me -- narrating how she tried a new dish or enjoyed a different taste--simply because her teachers encouraged her to try. I thank you for your kindness, patience and calmness in dealing with my child. “
-“ Without your support, empathy and fierce protectiveness this would not have happened. Something very special has happened here”.
“ Thanks a lot for your help, I highly appreciate all that you are doing for my son”.
- “I have no words to thank you both for your co-operation round the year for my son.You are not only his teacher. Rather, you have been his friend, philosopher and guide, all molded into one person. We will always be grateful to you for your support. You have blossomed him to an extent that as a mother I have started visualizing him an independent and confident human being ready to face this world.This wouldn't have been possible without your effort”.
- “Would like to thank you for being there for our son and providing extensive support to him through the last year. It is very comforting as a parent to know that he has someone he can talk to in the school”.
-“Thank you for all your wonderful work with our daughter. Her face lights up whenever she sees you, and she has been making steady progress…. we feel very lucky to have found you”.
-"I would like to thank you for the letter of recommendation which was a great help. I would like to thank Pathways again and if weren't for you I wouldn't have been where I am standing right now."