India – Understanding and Helping Children with Learning Difficulties

29 October 2020

(ANS – Mumbai) – Children with learning disabilities have an 'invisible challenge'. The struggle to read, write and to perform arithmetic calculations are very real and their academic performance suffers. Misunderstood and taunted, these children often develop emotional problems. Parents and teachers are left in a dilemma whether these children genuinely have a difficulty or they are just playing up! Early identification and remedial help can help these struggling children to surmount the obstacles and even outperform their peers.

Mumbai Salesians' Father [Dr.] Ajoy Fernandes with a doctorate in Counselling Psychology with a major in Clinical Counselling and Director Prafulta-Don Bosco Youth Counselling Services, Matunga-Mumbai comes to the aid of confused parents and teachers with an online episodic video-series 'Understanding and Helping Children with Learning Difficulties'. The video-series broken up into short 10-minute interactive inputs describes the symptoms of learning and related difficulties; the formal and informal ways of assessing these difficulties; the types of beneficial interventions possible and the government-endorsed concessions across India.

Dr. Fernandes begins the 1st episode with 'an overview of learning difficulties', to be followed by elaborate explanations of each specific difficulty in later episodes. He says, "on an average teachers have to deal with 40-60 students in a classroom environment. While most students seem to catch up with general classroom instruction, teachers very often find it impossible to get through to some of the students, despite all the effort. The teachers are aware that these students have some difficulty but are unable to figure out the exact nature of the students' difficulty."

Each month, one episode will be uploaded onto the Mumbai Salesians' Youtube Channel. This Dr. Fernandes believes, "will be very helpful for parents and teachers, to view and understand in a simple and easy to understand fashion: the various difficulties, its characteristics, impediments, learning disorders, language disorders, sensory integration, motor-auditory-visual processing and the clinica-psychoeducational assessment."

The idea for the online episodic video-series was mooted by MumbaiSalesians' Provincial Father Savio Silveira, as a follow up to the 2019 Don Bosco Research Centre [DBRC] publication 'Understanding and Helping Children with Learning Difficulties'. DBRC teacher-training workshops 'Learning Disabilities: Identification and Remediation' involved the participation of teachers from across some of the major cities of the length and breadth of India, who also provided valuable feedback and future considerations. Resource persons and subject-experts also played a pivotal role in the research-training study.

The online episodic video-series, a year since the publication of the book, serves as an easily accessible resource to be aware and more proactively reach out to children experiencing such difficulties, reducing the intensity of their struggle and help them build a stable future. Dr Fernandes, however cautions, "the videos are intended to be general guidelines only. For informed opinion, parents and teachers will need to consult professionally trained psychologists or special educators."

Watch out for the 1st episode to air on the MumbaiSalesians' Youtube Channel.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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