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Caring for Students with Disabilities

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It is uncommon for parents to choose an ordinary school for their physically challenged kids because they understand the prioritization their child would need. However, when no options are available or a child requires to pursue higher education that does not offer specific courses, they have to join a school that does not have specialized care or support available.

Thankfully, institutions are adapting to every change, and dealing with students that face physical or mental challenges otherwise are also becoming their areas of specialization through experienced counselors and trained teachers.

Student support group

The first establishment that helps a child in cooperating among school activities is a Student support group. An SSG is a professional group that consists of school leaders from both the teacher and the student councils, with therapists and the child in question. 

The main objective of such an organization is to support the learning requirements and the goals of a child with a disability. The group meets regularly to chalk out the perfect plan they might need to go through everyday activities, review the plan, and put them into action to promote learning.

Institutions have a different name for the student support group, often it might have teachers and professionals only. 

Customized learning plan

The student information system helps inexperienced teachers too for having a proper understanding of the child’s existing skills, difficulties they face in everyday life, and their remedies. With this, they must make the perfect individual learning plan that must include;

  • A summary of the child’s interests, areas of strengths and weaknesses, and motivating factors.
  • Learning requirements and shortcomings faced in day-to-day activities.
  • Measurable academic, social, and intellectual goals.
  • Curriculum adjustments, if any.
  •  A guide on how to perform some activities, where to find the resources for learning, and strategies to take breaks and learn better.

Remember to change the customized learning plan every month according to the progress student makes.

Extra support plans

Although a normal institution is not supposed to have any extra support plans for students, the awareness of mental illness and increase in the number of students with a disability pursuing education through globalization and the empowerment they have received have caused schools and colleges to bring out some other organizations or in school plans that a child might need.

  • Personal care support: Physical support in performing certain activities such as visiting the washroom or eating during lunch breaks.
  • Medical support: Immediate and emergency medical attention.
  • Group support: Teachers, therapists, personal care assistants, and student heads for moral and emotional support.

The best part about such support features is that not just the students with disabilities, but other children can also avail of these services if and when required.

How can teachers help?

The main motive of an educator is to promote learning and other soft skills inside a classroom. They are mostly concerned with students and their learning patterns, and sometimes with their personal life when it affects their academic or social values. With a physically or mentally challenged child in the classroom, they might have to provide some extra support to make up for the additional needs the child has. Under the proper supervision of the school administration, they have the following roles to play;

  • Prepare interactive, interesting, and easy-to-understand teaching material.
  • Supporting the child with homework, classwork, project work, and things as simple as reading and writing.
  • Personal care support at times and all-time supervision during classroom hours.
  • Providing emotional support to the child when they are in a therapy session and guiding them with how-tos even with the simplest things. For example, the general features of an LMS and how to use them.
  • Reporting back to the parents, the school administration, and the institution.

Depending on the needs of the child, these goals and requirements might change for an educator.

Professional support

For a special case, schools can organize nonteaching professional staff appointed only to look after the disabled child where other staff members like the teachers and administrators can perform their activities normally just as they do for every other student.

No matter how severe or disability, every child deserves attention and care and if they have the willingness to pursue their passions in academics or other areas, their parents and teachers must have the enthusiasm to support them through it all. The world is changing, our education systems are adapting, and there is more hope for every child, disabled or not.