As a teacher, we have to acquire necessary information and skills to understand the student as a unique individual in terms of individual differences in learning levels.
These differences among individuals may be attributed to a number of factors. These factors force us to understand the learning process in the broader context rather than as an isolated phenomenon or process. One of these contexts is the ‘characteristics’ of the students themselves.
Students with special needs can be classified into five categories as under:
1. Physical Impairment:
Students with Locomotors Disability-Children with physical disabilities may have locomotors problems which are related to muscular and joints of the body affecting mobility of limbs and extremities.
The students with such impairment may find difficulty in attempting those learning activities which need physical movement.
We can play an important role in helping students to overcome physical impairment, parents support can be sought in this regard. In case of severe disability, the students can be referred to Distinct Rehabilitation Centres of Primary Health Centres (PHCs). Suggestions:
1. Suitable seating arrangements should be made in the classroom. Students with crutches and wheelchairs should be provided a seat on the right front space in the classroom, so that the movement of the other students is not blocked or hindered.
2. We should ensure that they get adequate opportunities to participate in physical and recreational activities in the class and the school. Other students should be encouraged to join them in such activities.
3. The disability needs to be taken into consideration. While grading their papers, if they have difficulty in writing, they may be provided with extra time.
2. Students with Visual Impairment: The children who have visual disability can not read the usual text and may need some learning aids such as Braille in case of blindness. Then there are partially sighted students. Some students read only large print say for example, 14 point and above, some require magnifying glasses to read. Some children have restricted field of vision. The teachers should identify such students and provide them special help in their study.
Visual disability can be identified as under:
1. The student asks other students for help when taking notes from the blackboards.
2. He holds objects including the book close to his eyes.
3. Observable deformity in the eyes.
4. He robs eyes frequently.
5. There is frequent reddening of eyes.
6. He covers one eye and tills the head forward.
7. He bumps into people as objects.
8. He complains of headaches.
9. He has watery eyes.
10. He blinks frequently or squints eyelids together.
If child displays any of these types of behaviors we may refer him to the PHC/hospital for eye check-up. Teacher’s functions are as under:
1. A teacher should pay special attention to the student with visual disability. He should allow such students to sit in the front rows so that they can read the blackboard with ease.
2. They should be encouraged to glance out of the window now and then- while reading for the blackboard.
3. We should write in bold letters which are legible.
4. We should read aloud when we write on the blackboard.
5. Books with bold letters (14 points or more) should be available in the library to cater to the needs of these students.
6. the District Rehabilitation Centres and hospitals may be approached for hand lens, magnifying glasses, etc. For students whose disability is beyond the spectacle lens.