Empowering school teachers – Laying the foundation for timely support

Identifying-Learning-Disabilities

Dyslexia is not a rare condition. One in every ten to twelve children is at the risk of dyslexia. Unfortunately, Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) training programs for teachers across India generally do not offer specific modules to identify learning disabilities in children and ways to support such children. The number of institutions offering B.Ed where Learning Disability can be chosen as a specialization is also small. This situation may need to be addressed on priority as teachers are a part of a child’s immediate learning environment and can contribute the most in helping children with these difficulties.

School teachers can play a significant role in early identification and support of children with learning disabilities. Early detection has the potential to help many more children, who would otherwise have been misunderstood for their academic failures and suffered silently. Such children will then be brought within a supportive and inclusive learning environment in schools. Teachers, when trained to administer tests that screen for dyslexia, can pave the way for creating a stimulating yet understanding and accommodative learning atmosphere, where fair and suitable opportunities are provided to the child, for better personal and academic growth.

Integration of children with learning disabilities into mainstream schools, rather than exclusion, should be the focus of the education system in India. Teachers can contribute to integrating such children with the rest of the class, through guidance, support and academic concessions for the learning disability. Teachers can help these children in pragmatic ways such as setting realistic goals, dividing tasks into smaller units, reading text clearly at a slower pace, encouraging verbal responses to questions and providing additional time for writing tests.

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