Discrimination in school begins at four:
Kids sometimes enter school with cognitive differences and deficits.
Every year, millions of children enter the Indian education system. But a large proportion of them fail to derive the real benefit of schooling, which is learning.
While there are several factors such as curriculum, pedagogy, teacher training and others that are preventing some children from achieving better learning outcomes, one factor that has a disproportionately significant impact is the lack awareness of invisible disabilities. If a child cannot do a listening comprehension, a simple four-piece puzzle, or a simple task involving counting of objects, those are red flags. The child could have a Learning Disability.
EARLY INTERVENTION IS THE KEY…
Early intervention for learning difficulties makes a significant difference in the long-term learning abilities of children. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 95 percent of children who have trouble learning to read can reach expected level if they receive specialized help early on.
Kindergarten and Class 1 are the “window of opportunity” to prevent long term learning problems. Neural circuits, which create the foundation for learning, behaviour and health, are most flexible during the first three years of life.
Without early intervention, the “learning gap” between struggling learners and their peers continues to widen over time. Research has found that children who are below expected level in class three are very slow to “catch up” in later classes.
Kindergarten teachers are often the first to raise “red flags” about a child’s readiness. Any such concerns should be taken seriously and investigated sooner rather than later. A formal assessment can determine whether these early warning signs indicate the presence of a learning disorder.
Numerous research studies have concluded that one on-one instruction is superior to group instruction for children with basic skill deficits. Experts agree that these children need specialized, systematic, intervention by a qualified specialist with training and experience in learning disabilities.
Over time, the brain is strengthened by positive early experiences, especially stable relationships with caring and responsive adults, safe and supportive environments, and appropriate nutrition. Intervention is likely to be more effective and less costly when it is provided earlier in life rather than later.
It is a good idea for schools to take a positive step in promoting inclusion, as soon as possible, because government regulations will make it increasingly difficult to refuse enrolment to children with special needs.
A lot of behavioral and discipline issues settle down once the learning needs of each child is met.