Teaching any grade is quite a challenge in itself as every child of every age is different. There are established set of protocols to handle the children of various grades which simplifies the art of teaching them. However, the rules and statistics never apply or imply to while handling children with intellectual disabilities. Intellectual disability (ID) is characterized by determining the Intelligent Quotient or IQ of an individual where an IQ of 70 and below is termed as an Intellectual disability. Children with intellectual disabilities face difficulties with everyday activities or daily living like communication, self-help, safety, socialization, etc.
Samarthanam’s special school for the children with intellectual disabilities have teachers who expertise in caring and training the children with ID. The school has various levels of grades or informal training for the special children and encourages such parents to enroll their children when he/she is eight years old or more. The initial stages of adapting to the school culture are quite a shock to the child explains one of the teachers handling the early informal education class of the school. “The child takes time to understand and adapt to the classroom set-up; they seek the comfort of their homes but once the shock wears off and the child considers us and the classmates as acceptable changes the child is more viable to learn the basics of life.”, says the teacher.
“The children of the special school love everyone wholeheartedly, they are very easy to make friends with as they are not afraid to meet new people and include them in their list of friends within seconds of meeting them. They are always ready to welcome you with an easy smile which is quite contagious. I will any day choose to teach my special children over working in a regular school says Meena (name changed on request) a senior teacher from the special school.
Understanding the concept of self-help and applying it is a difficult but not an impossible task for the children with intellectual disabilities. They need to be dealt with extreme care and yet soundly with a heavy dose of patience, for which we appreciate the efforts and selfless service of every teacher serving the special schools for children with intellectual disabilities.
“My students can identify socio-emotional characteristics like hunger, anger, joy, fear, and cater to their personal needs as we train them with basic skills like toilet training, grooming, feeding themselves, etc.”, proudly states the Principal of Samarthanam’s special school. In fact, the teachers are working towards enabling their children to pursue professional skills to help them with their livelihood which is still in the budding phase and will hopefully take shape in the next three years.
This post author is Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.