BORIVLI, JANUARY 24, 2012: The teachers of the Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary and the N.I.O.S. sections of Don Bosco High School, Borivli were provided with a wonderful opportunity to grow in our vocation as teachers, on January 21, 2012. A full-day session was organized for us by the Management. This seminar enabled all the teachers present, to gain a tremendous amount of extremely useful information, about the need to understand and help children with learning disabilities. The session was conducted by Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, the Vice-Provincial of the Mumbai Province. Although many of us were interacting with him for the very first time, the fact that he was so well-read and knowledgeable in his field of expertise was evident in every aspect of the session.
Apart from providing us with facts and basic knowledge about differently-abled children, that we often refer to as slow learners, children with learning disabilities, etc, Fr. Fernandes also shared with us a lot of personal experiences that he had encountered in all his years of working with children in different places. His practical tips on how to deal with very real situations that each of us encounter every day were very thought-provoking and will definitely be extremely helpful when we need to cope with similar situations. His sessions were interspersed with group discussions, PowerPoint presentations, songs and Movie clips, which together helped to enhance our understanding of various psychological concepts.
Most teachers in today's context are aware of the concept of slow learners and learning disabilities. However, we generally tend to put students into broad categories. Fr. Ajoy very systematically helped to clarify the basic differences between students who are Slow Learners, Learning Disabled, children with Attention Deficit Disorders and those with Sensory Processing Disorders. He showed us how we could overcome our feelings of helplessness or discouragement, when we as teachers are sometimes unable to deal with these special children. He also communicated to us the 'appropriate interventions' that we need to use for children with 'specific needs'.
The teachers expressed their concerns and practical difficulties that are faced on a regular basis in school, when dealing with these children and Fr. Ajoy showed us very simple steps in which the situations could be handled, through his own experiences. One of the teachers pointed out, that understanding children with special needs would only be possible if there was a healthy interaction between the Parents, Teachers and Students. The crux of the entire session was to help us teachers understand and internalize the fact, that 'differently-abled children need to know that they are loved'. We teachers have to make a conscious effort to reach them at their level, even at times when we find it difficult, frustrating or when we feel demoralized due to our inability to communicate with them.
Inspired by the very informative and insightful seminar, we're also sure that Fr. Ajoy has been able to sensitize all our teachers, who will definitely make a conscious effort to bring smiles to the faces of every special child they encounter. On behalf of the Management, Staff and differently-abled students in our institution, who will be the actual beneficiaries of this session in the long run, we thank Fr. Ajoy Fernandes for spending an entire day with us and sharing his wonderful insights and experiences with us. May you be blest abundantly for the special effort you have made to help us reach out to our students.