Learning disabilities can affect children from time to time and as young as 4-5 years old. While some learning disabilities can be attributed to variations in development, parents and educators should look-out for consistent patterns of learning difficulties in children.
Children with persistent learning disabilities have been labelled as slow learners, minimally brain-injured, and whatnot. They are expected to score well in their academics but no matter how hard they try, they struggle with their grades. As a result, these children can be treated crudely and often punished for not achieving the expectations placed upon them in many schools and among parents. As a result, they can develop behavioural or emotional problems. Hence, children with learning difficulties are in a disadvantaged position when compared with children who can cope with the general education system.
I’ll never forget the date, August 31 2011, when our only daughter Sophie had her first seizure due to high fever (40 degrees Celsius). Thereafter, she experienced another seizure the following day. That was the start of our special journey with Sophie.
Sophie was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was 2 years old. Right after her seizure episodes, we met a number of neuro paediatrician doctors, followed by a neurodevelopmental paediatrician to accurately assess Sophie’s condition.
The doctors initially diagnosed Sophie with attention delay. She underwent a lot of clinical tests to assess her brain condition such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and etc. She also went to an occupational therapist (OT) as the initial program was recommended by her doctor. Thereafter, when she reached 3 years old, Sophie’s neurodevelopmental paediatrician gave the official assessment that Sophie has autism spectrum disorder and she needed to...
Rhythm is a word often used in music, but in this blog, it means ‘a smooth flow of daily activities of a child.’ A daily rhythm can be understood as a natural impulse like breathing. And this daily rhythm, if followed from early childhood, can impact a child’s healthy development.
A daily rhythm should not be misunderstood as a routine.
Routine is a set of the scheduled number of activities to be done throughout the day; whereas rhythm is more flexible and it defines a smooth flow of activities during the day.
Creating a balanced rhythm for young children during the day is a tool to make parenting easier. It helps young children to have an understanding of time, which is an abstract concept for them. Rhythm also creates a sense of predictability and security in them.
A balanced rhythm follows the concept of ‘breathing in’ and ‘breathing out’. As breathing in and out happens naturally, uninterrupted and in a smooth, balanced flow...
Play is a physical or mental activity that is performed for leisure, pleasure or delight. While the play has no obvious objective, it is an important tool for physical, social, learning and intellectual development. All these lead to changes that allow children and adults to achieve their maximum potential.
The play has many characteristics that are crucial for brain development and learning. It offers opportunities for children and adults to encounter new experiences and refine already existing skills. It also encourages creativity in children and adults.
There are many different types of play.
The story of the Humble Marble
One bright sunny day, as I sat in my therapy room waiting for my three-year-old client, the wide array of toys all around me caught my attention. They were all branded, shiny, bold, and bright coloured toys.
The child who would come to me for Autism intervention had language limitations. “I am sure he would have fun playing around here. These toys are way too good. They will surely engage him. Sure they will also alleviate parental concerns and give me an opportunity to help in his treatment” I thought.
Hiding behind the mother, the kid walked through the door. The cat-eyed cute little boy saw me from the corner of his eye for a fleeting second and quickly looked away. As I greeted and welcomed him, he continued to shy away from me.
After a while, his mother and I sat down to talk. Back of my mind, I was sure the little champ would head straight to play with the toys I had laid out.
Not really! A tiny green pebble kept in a vase on my...
When teaching young learners, teachers need to adopt a balanced teaching style which includes a variety of activities often called either stirrers or settlers. Stirrers are activities which encourage students to be active and dynamic which may include standing, hopping, strolling and running. Settlers are activities opposite to stirrers. It involves learners to sit down and be calm.
It is important for teachers to use these different activities to establish a routine in the classroom. And also to use the activities to make the unfamiliar surroundings familiar to young learners. Some of the stirrers and settlers activities are as follows:
Welcoming a specially-abled child in your family isn't as easy as falling off a log. Cosmic questions and thoughts halt your consciousness. Where do we go? What to do? and perhaps the most salient of them all, why us?
Conceding that your child is different from normal kids takes you through an emotional roller coaster revolving around shock, denial, guilt, confusion followed by fear, grief, loss, powerlessness, disappointment and rejection. This may seem the end, but it isn't.
Accept your child as he/she is differently-abled. Instead of looking down on him/her and mourning what had happened, embrace the flaws.
Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward together and finding the answer - Denis Waitley
Everyone is different, they will grow and develop at their own pace. Comparing your child with siblings, cousins, kids in the daycare class or even kids with the same disability will not make you feel any better. Your...
Since COVID, we may be at a loss of what education is best for our children. But we will need to remind ourselves that while education aims to teach, the evidence of impactful teaching is in effective learning. Education is not about marks scored in tests and exams as these do not reflect intelligence. Education is a life-long learning journey in which the student learns to be confident, self-reliant, and communicates effectively.
Two wrongs do not make a right!
Yes, the situation we are all in because of COVID is wrong from every angle. And with confinement, our anxieties are getting magnified many folds. The biggest anxiety parents are experiencing is the concern they have about their child’s access to school. Schools are closed and when they will restart is unknown to you or me or anyone, from India to America to Argentina! When schools do reopen, what the situation will be like and how children will stay safe, is another question, with no answer!
Now comes the...
Children with dyscalculia have difficulties with all areas of Mathematics – like telling time, counting money, and performing mental calculations. According to a family psychologist and author – “their brains need more teaching, more targeted learning experiences, and more practice to develop these networks. Dyscalculia frequently coexists with dyslexia.
Signs of dyscalculia are not always easy to spot. Keep in mind that all kids have trouble with maths from time to time. But children with dyscalculia struggle a lot more than other children the same age. Dyscalculia is not the same as math anxiety because the latter involves strong emotions around Math.
What are the signs of Dyscalculia?
Start with the Child
Dyslexic children often ‘fail’ in their studies and this can affect their motivation to learn. To get them back to learning, it is very important to first build rapport with them. This can be done by talking to and listening to them. The communication will help
How can dyslexic children learn better?
There are numerous programs, teaching aids and software packages that you can use with students. Tuition or remedial sessions should be multi-sensory with many variations involving looking, listening, speaking and touching. Every child is unique and it is good to observe which kind of learner type each child belongs to.
Visual Learner (Learning through seeing)
Auditory Learner (Learning through listening)
Kinesthetic Learner (Learning through action and...