The Khaitan School in Noida recently organized a two-day training program on special needs for its staff members. The training, conducted by Dr. Amrapali Lahri on 25th and 26th May 2023, aimed to equip the teachers with the knowledge and skills required to support students with special needs effectively. Mr. Vedant Khaitan, the school’s Principal, Ms. Rina Singh, CEO, Col. Jaisheel, HOJS, Ms. Seema Khurana, HOMS, Ms. Pooja Singh, and the staff members from Nursery to Grade VI attended the training.
During the training, Dr. Amrapali Lahri shed light on sensory processing disorder, a neurological condition that affects the way children process information from their senses. Individuals with sensory processing disorder may exhibit heightened sensitivity or lack of response to sensory stimuli, depending on the nature of their condition.
The symptoms of sensory processing issues may vary among children based on their sensory processing patterns. Those who are easily stimulated may have hypersensitivity, which can cause them to be bothered by sensory inputs like light, sound, and touch. These stimuli may lead to a loss of focus, disruptive behavior, or acting out.
Teachers were guided on how to identify sensory issues in students. The training emphasized three key areas where intervention is necessary:
Behavior that disrupts everyday life: When sensory issues make it difficult for children to carry out normal daily activities, it is crucial to seek professional help.
Unmanageable reactions: If a child’s sensory issues become overwhelming and unmanageable, professional intervention can help them learn strategies to cope with their behavior.
Impact on learning: Sensory overload or difficulties in sensory processing can impede a child’s learning abilities in the classroom. Recognizing this impact is important for providing appropriate support.
Dr. Lahri provided insights on auditory processing issues and suggested that students with such challenges may respond better to verbal cues. To facilitate better adjustment and understanding of classroom norms, techniques like pasting class rules pictures on the child’s desk or drawing/pasting hand pictures were recommended for students with a habit of touching others’ belongings.
In cases where a child has a tendency to snatch food from others, parents may be asked to send an extra tiffin called a “surprise box” to ensure the child has access to their preferred snacks. For students with sensory needs who tend to run out of the class without an apparent reason, frequent breaks and guidance to remain seated were suggested.
Students with ADHD may display behaviors such as banging on tables, floors, or doors to seek joint sensitivity. The training emphasized the importance of observation and early identification of speech, fine motor, and gross motor skills issues in preprimary students. Early intervention through engaging play activities and basic assessments for auditory, visual, language, tactile, and oral perceptions were highlighted as key strategies.
Dr. Lahri shared that, post-COVID-19, there has been an increase in sensory issues due to reduced exposure to sensory inputs and increased reliance on gadgets. The training incorporated various activities and worksheets to guide teachers in engaging children with sensory issues constructively and helping them adjust better in the classroom.
The speaker also informed the participants about a proposal shared with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to include social skills charts in child development milestones for early identification of special needs.
During the training, teachers had the opportunity to share their experiences working with special needs students and ask questions related to the challenges they faced. The session also covered provisions for modifying papers for special needs students. Dr. Lahri sensitized the teachers to work collaboratively with parents as a team and emphasized the importance of not labeling a child without a proper diagnosis.