Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Despite the Right to Education (RTE), many children with disability (CwD) are unable to receive an education because of financial hardship, inaccessibility in mainstream schools, and lack of sensitization to their needs. While there are policies to ensure education for all, implementation models are inadequate. Without comprehensive education, the future of underprivileged children with special needs is impaired.
With APD’s Inclusive Education program, we impact the lives of thousands of children while building the capacity of various stakeholders such as parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and government officials.
Work at district and state level to build an ecosystem of inclusion for CwD. Ensure comprehensive education for the overall development of a child.
APD has three focus areas under Inclusive Education:
- Provide comprehensive education: This is the overall development of a child including counselling, rehab (speech or physiotherapy), surgical intervention, fitment of mobility aids, providing assistive devices, as well as academic and confidence building, etc., skills. Our Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) teachers, individually or in a group, support teachers as facilitators.
- Build an ecosystem to promote inclusive education: Extensive capacity building is done for school teachers, peers, parents and siblings, and relevant stakeholders. We do a lot of sensitization and counselling of family members for parents to bring their child to school. At the school, APD works with teachers and peers, provides teaching materials, infrastructural support, teaching methodology as well as curriculum adaptation for children with special needs.
- Work with the education department. We support the government department in the locality to get enrollments and assist with sustaining the quality of education for children with special needs.
SHRADHANJALI INTEGRATED SCHOOL (SIS)
SIS, founded in 1973, is a primary school up to Class VII recognized under the SSLC Board. It has the capacity to educate up to 200 children. The school maintains an 80:20 ratio of children with disabilities and able-bodied to promote inclusion.
SIS focuses on activity-oriented learning, sports, arts and crafts to ensure all-round development. Three interactive classrooms, powered by TATA ClassEdge, have audio-visual devices for improved learning, along with other technology-based gadgets.
As most children at SIS come from financially backward families, facilities like mid-day meals, books, uniforms, healthcare, rehabilitation, transportation and adapted learning techniques are provided to supplement their academic inputs. This model has ensured 90% mainstreaming, with most children moving on to regular or special schools.
CEREBRAL PALSY SPECIAL ASSISTANCE
Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) are part of regular classes but also given 8-10 hours of special assistance every week. They are given speech, communication and occupational support. Improvement in their functional ability improves their educational capacity as well.
SPEECH AND HEARING SPECIAL ASSISTANCE
Children with hearing impairment are part of regular classes where sign language and audio-visual technology are also used to impart education. There is only one language for the hearing impaired. And then there’s Maths, Science, and other subjects. Additional support is provided for subjects and communication skills, an extra 8-10 hour per week. There are 3 special educators for hearing impairment at SIS.
APD started Model Schools in 2012. Earlier there would be only 2-3 CwD in schools but APD worked with the education department, parent community, school management committee and had consultations with various stakeholders. Presently, there are 35 Model Schools in Bangalore, Vijayapura (earlier, Bijapur) and Davangere districts of Karnataka, with around 400+ special children.
APD assists model schools with:
- infrastructure modification
- education support by CBR teachers
- training by physiotherapist
- capacity building of school teachers, peers, parents and siblings
- mobility aids for children with special needs
- mobility aids & assistive devices
- surgical interventions
More Model Schools are being developed through our RSO Partnerships (link to RSO page under Partners). With this model, APD has been able to reach 1500+ children with special needs.
The Build-Operate-Transfer model is used to develop more schools like SIS. There are currently 3 such schools in Gulbarga, Bijapur or Vijaypura and Bagalkot districts of Karnataka.
APD identifies a local partner for the project. A clear entry and exit plan is developed for 3 years. In that period, APD provides intensive operational and technical support to establish the school. After 3 years, APD exits and provides interim support for 1-2 years. After that, the school must run independently.