Schooling is an eventuality. It is regarded as a necessity; a standard that defines the quality of life. However, there are sections of population whose academic abilities are below expected levels. These may be the result of certain accidents or could be present at the time of birth. Special children, as they are called, find it difficult to be accommodated in a normal school. They may have trouble grasping important portions of the curriculum and would require unique, and at times separate curriculum.
Being parents of a Special Child, you need to be sensitive and understanding. You should be able to figure out if your child has some kind of special need which is not visible. For example, children with Autism behave fairly normally but have certain special needs. No wonder, every parent wishes to see his child secure and independent, and schooling forms the basis of sociological development and is often considered the first step towards independent living.
Deciding when to send a child to a special school can be difficult. There are so many factors involved, not the least of which is the availability of such schools in the area. Here is a list of factors you need to consider before sending your child to school.
- Curiosity – Curiosity is an excellent indicator of the aptitude of the child. A child may begin seeking to understand things that are not easily answerable. There would be times when a child may venture into something he has not done before. Take these as positive signs that your child is coming of age. The domestic environment may not have enough of stimulus for him/her to pursue this curiosity. Hence, it would be best if you look for a school.
- Development of a Minimum level of Understanding – This cannot be determined in the absolute sense. Normally, it is ideal to look at the performance of the child in different segments. A marked development in basic learning can signal that he/she is ready for a broader training.
- The child knows how to take care of himself/herself – At school, a child would be away from the supervision of his/her parents for several hours. Thus, he/she needs to be good with conveying thoughts to others and taking care. A preliminary development of the habit at home would be beneficial. This would also save the child embarrassment since special children are highly sensitive.
- Carefully Regulated Home Environment: The centre of attention at home is the child. However, in a school, he/she would be one of several children in a class. Even if the ratio is low, it is not possible for the teacher to devote personal attention. Thus, he/she should have developed a generate aptitude for understanding – which is possible only of your provide a conducive environment at home.
There is no definite age at which a special child needs to be sent to school. This may vary depending on the child. Thus, a careful eye would be helpful to make sure that a child is ready for special school. However, below are some Pros and Cons on sending a special child to school:
Pros and Cons Of Sending A Special Child To School
There can be several different kinds of learning disabilities. These may range from autism to dyslexia. Many of these require attention and special schools remain the most viable option to educate them. Although these schools succeed in providing the required attention and framework to nurture the children, there remains some concern.
There are not many alternatives to special schools. Perhaps, the most viable one is home teaching. However, this method of teaching is not too helpful either, unless the condition of the child is extreme.
Schools for special children can help them develop requisite skills and reduce the role of the disabilities in framing their lives. Schools offering these can offer a large number of advantages. Some of them have been highlighted below.
- These provide a place for special children to engage and learn. Many are equipped with specialized teaching aids designed specifically to help with the disability. These allow the child to develop and nurture the skills that may be helpful at a later stage.
- They have the requisite expertise to handle special children. Special schools handle a lot of case related to special children. These allow the authorities to develop the requisite infrastructure and setup in place to nurture the children.
- Trained staff – The staff at such schools are certified professionals who have been trained for the purpose. If the school is a good one, you can expect them to take care of your child.
- Special schools allow an alternative – There are cases where a child attending a normal school is not possible. Schools for special children make it possible for them to attend an establishment where formal learning is made possible.
Despite the advantages of schools for special children, there remain some concerns regarding schools for special children.
- Expense – The schools that accept children with special needs can be expensive for normal middle class families; public schools remain the only choice.
- Protected environment at schools – In a school for special children, the students are presented with an atmosphere that suits them. Either through simulated situations or carefully controlled environs, a lot of control is exercised. This is in contrast with the external world.
- The disabilities are often very specific. Even the same condition may develop different effects. In a school, this distinction is very often cast aside. Instead, everyone is meted out equal treatment. Such generalized teaching may inhibit the learning process of the child.
Schools for special children have slowly been substituted by making separate arrangements for special children in normal schools. This removes the veil of discrimination from the existing setup and provides a thrust to the establishment of a uniform educational setup. A special child may or may not show symptoms of the learning disabilities for a long time after attending the school. In rare cases, the disability is overlooked until it is very late to accommodate him/her into the setup. Thus, the child would be best served by an early detection of the condition.