Teacher Development

 ‘...I had to suffer a lot of mental trauma after Ayan was born. He had asphyxia when he was born. The doctor told me that Ayan would have certain developmental issues while growing up. I blame the doctor for this situation. I was staying with my husband and his parents. They didn’t accept Ayan and he was deprived of his grandparents’ love and care. For Ayan’s wellbeing, I had to leave that house and we shifted to my parents’. My husband works for a company where they organise regular parties. Every time, I take Ayan with me, the other parents take their children away from him.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability which occurs in one in ten school children. In fact, the numbers may be more, as high as 20 percent, since there is no statistical data available for India. Children with dyslexia, unlike other disabilities, do not have any physical ‘marks’ or attributes.Hence, it is an invisible disability.

Persons with disabilities (PwDs) account for 15 percent of the total world population, of which 80 percent live in developing countries. According to Census 2011, 2.21 percent are living with one or more form of disabilities in India. This group of people remains the most marginalized and vulnerable in society.

Case 1

Gaurav was born on September 29, 2010, in a hospital in Bhopal through a surgical procedure. At the time of birth, he weighed about 1.8 kg. and so was kept in an incubator for one week. From birth, Gaurav had jaundice. In spite of taking him out in the morning sunlight, he was not cured. So, we took him to the doctor and he was admitted to the hospital. Many tests were carried out, but the doctor was unable to find the cause for his jaundice.

I will begin this article by stating an obvious fact about ourselves: we are constantly concerned about whether we are acceptable to others or not. The word acceptable is actually a bit weak—what we want is to be loved, adored, admired… And the fact of this constant and humming need hits us very hard when we suspect or realise that our peers do not accept us the way we are, faults and all.

Sexuality is a core aspect of being human involving various physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects. Children with disabilities are sexual beings too. They experience sexual development and changes as they grow and have sexual feelings, desires and needs just like their non-disabled peers. Unfortunately, their sexuality is often not accepted or addressed, because of which many do not receive sexual health education either at home or in school.

We are faced with more change than ever before in education. Classrooms are becoming far more dynamic in nature due to multicultural diversity, student diversity, rapid societal and technological change, high expectations and aspirations of parents, new cognitive research on human learning etc. This would mean, ‘more and more, diversity among students in public schools represents the norm rather than the exception.’ (Gollnick and Chin, 2009).

Do you remember watching the movie Taare Zameen Par? The movie raised awareness among people about learning disabilities and it also inspired me to do something. Having worked as a special educator for several years, I decided to focus on Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). I have also attempted to bring in my experience of working with children with learning disabilities to make them independent and ‘fight their own battles.’ Specific Learning disabilities are not emotional disturbances, intellectual disabilities, or sensory impairments.

My life was moving in a smooth, straight line, just like the way I had drawn it for myself – studied computers, got a job in a multinational firm, married a tall, dark, handsome and caring husband, had an extremely loving family and a lovely daughter.

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