City schools put in special efforts to help dyslexic children study

Call it an effect of the highly acclaimed 2007 flick,Taare Zameen Par,but it’s a fact that the country has turned sensitive towards children with dyslexia.

Written by CHHAVI BHATIA | Chandigarh | Published:January 18, 2009 1:21 am

Call it an effect of the highly acclaimed 2007 flick,Taare Zameen Par,but it’s a fact that the country has turned sensitive towards children with dyslexia.

Three schools in Chandigarh have been,however,making concerted efforts for the last five years to make learning easy for such children. Though the number of these schools is not high,they have been able to make a difference in many lives.

To start with,they make the children study with the mainstream students,instead of putting them in a separate section. “Even though they are slow learners,we make sure they study with the rest of the class. We do not let them feel left out,” says Gurman Sandhu,in-charge of the special children’s cell of Vivek High School.

The school has appointed teachers who are specially trained to deal with dyslexic children. Apart from assisting parents to identify dyslexia in their wards at an early stage,the school also organises beginners and refresher courses for teachers. “We also give such children extra time of an hour during annual examinations. Moreover,teachers are instructed to take their oral tests too so as to better their performance,” adds Sandhu.

Schools also offer the flexibility of not studying the subject a particular student is not interested in. “It is a provision given by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) that dyslexic students have to study only one language. Also,we let them opt out of one or two subjects if they do not wish to study. Rather,if they are good in music or art,we encourage them in that field,” says Anu Kumar,principal,Stepping Stones School.

Extra attention to such students is high on the agenda of these schools,which also provide professional counselling to both the students and their parents. At St Stephen’s,the children with dyslexia are given special activity sheets to give wings to their creativity. They are also encouraged to take to a number of extra-curricular activities,designed especially for them,so as to make them familiar with things they find complex like numbers and alphabets.

For parents,the help extended by schools has come as a blessing in disguise. “Many schools denied admission to my son when they discovered he had dyslexia. Teachers at Stepping Stones,however,not only understood his ability to grasp slowly,but have shown extreme compassion in teaching him,” says a parent who did not wish to be named. Another parent’s son who studies at Vivek High feels that if taught the right way,a dyslexic child not only develops interest in studies but also finds confidence in himself.

DYSLEXIA SYMPTOMS
* According to experts,dyslexic children are confused about directions — left or right. This is the reason for writing letters in a reversed way. For example,they write ‘d’ for ‘b’ and vice versa
* Trouble in perceiving and remembering any sequence
* Generally illegible handwriting with irregular size and shapes of letters
* Experience problem with calculations,numbers

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