Children with Special Needs

Children with Special Needs - Syllabus and Study Material

Meaning of the Term “Exceptional Children”

Exceptional children are those children who deviate significantly from the normal ones. In other words, children who show a considerable deviation from what is supposed to be the normal or average to their group are labeled as exceptional children. The deviation may fall on either side and therefore, the exceptional may be significantly below average or significantly above average in the various aspects of human growth and development. Such children are so exceptionally inferior or superior to the normal children in terms of physical development, mental ability, social behavior and emotional reactions that they experience a sort of maladjustment in life. They need special care and education for their proper adjustment and maximum utilization of their abilities.
Crow and Crow have tried to explain the term exceptional in the following words :

“The term ‘a typical’ or ‘exceptional” is applied a trait to a person possessing the trait up to the extent of deviation from normal, possession of the trait is so great that because of it the individual warrants or receives special attention from his fellows and his behavior responses and activities are thereby affected.”

Types of Exceptional Children
Thus considering general welfare and educational angle for the proper adjustment and development of the children, the following types of children are usually included in the term exceptional children.

  1. Physical disabled or handicapped children
  2. Mentally disabled or mentally handicapped children
  3. Gifted children
  4. Creative children
  5. Delinquents or socially handicapped
  6. Emotionally handicapped or problem children
  7. The learning disabled children
  8. Backward children or slow learners.
  • Physical Important: Students with Loco motor Disability – Children with physical disables may have locomotor problems which are related to muscular and joints of the body affecting mobility of limbs and extremities. The students with such impairment may find difficulty in attempting those learning activities which need physical movement.
    We need play an important role in helping students to overcome physical impairment, parents support can be sought in this regard. In case of serve disability the students can be referred to District Rehabilitation Centres or Primary Health Centres (PHCs).


  • Suitable seating arrangements should be made in the classroom. Students with crutches and wheelchairs should be provided a seat on the right front space in the classroom, so that the movement of the other students is not blocked or hindered.
  • We should ensure that they get adequate opportunities to participate in physical and recreational activities in the class and the school. Other students should be encouraged to join them in such activities.
  • The disability needs to be taken into consideration. While grading their papers if they have difficulty in writing, they may be provided with extra time
  • Students with Visual Impairment: The children who have visual disability can not read the usual text and may need some learning aids such as Braille in case of blindness. Then there-are-partially sighted students. Some students read only large print say for example, 14 point and above, some require magnifying glasses to read. Some children have restricted field of vision. The teachers should identify such students and provide them special help in their study.

Visual disability can be identified as under:

  1. The student asks other students for help when taking notes from the blackboards.
  2. He holds objects including the book close to his eyes.
  3. Observable deformity in the eyes(s).
  4. He rubs eyes frequently.
  5. There is frequent reddening of eyes.
  6. He covers one eye and tilts the head forward.
  7. He bumps into people as objects.
  8. He complains of headaches.
  9. He has watery eyes
  10. He blinks frequently or squints eyelids together.

If child displays any of these types of behaviors we may refer him to the PHC/hospital for eye checkup. Teacher’s functions are as under:

  • A teacher should pay special attention to the student with visual disability. He should allow such students to sit in the front rows so that they can read the blackboard with ease.
  • They should be encouraged to glance out of the window now and then reading for the blackboard.
  • We should write in bold letters which are legible.
  • We should read aloud when we write on the blackboard.
  • Books with bold letters (14 points or more) should be available in the library to cater to the needs of these students.
  • The District Rehabilitation centers and hospitals may be approached for hand lens, magnifying glasses, etc. For students whose disability is beyond the spectacle Jens.
  • Students with Hearing and Speech Impair-meant: Hearing problems interfere with learning and performance. Hearing problems may also cause speech problems. So we should identify such students and take steps to meet their educational needs.
  • Identification of Hearing Disability: The level of hearing is measured by audiometers in terms of decibels (d b). Mild loss is within the range of 20-30 d b, marginal 30-40 d b, moderate 40-60 db, severe 60-75 d b, and profound loss is above 75 d.b. The students with hearing problems can be easily identified by observing their behaviors.

The behaviors of students with hearing problem is as under :

  1. He has observable deformity in the ear (s)
  2. Frequent discharge from the ear (s).
  3. Complaint of pain in ears frequently.
  4. Displays speech difficulty.
  5. While listening to the teacher, watches his face carefully.
  6. Makes, many errors in taking dictation.
  7. Frequently requests teacher to repeat directions and question.
  8. Turns head on one side to hear better.
  9. Scratches ear(s) frequently.

The student with any of these behaviors may be referred for a medical check-up. It is important to get the help of the professionals to identify the degree of loss and suitability of the hearing aid.

Education of Disabled Students

  • Students with hearing problems should be asked to sit near the teacher for improved listening.
  • Teacher should use a reasonable level of pitch (voice) while speaking.
  • Teacher should avoid mumbling and speaking too fast.
  • While reading from-the text book his lips should be visible to the students so that they are able to supplement listening by lip-reading.While speaking or writing on the blackboard teacher should face the students.
    Speech defects arising out of hearing problems can be corrected through speech training, using reinforced drill and practice.

Students with Low Mental Ability:The performance of the student with low mental ability do not have any physical problems but they are poorly adjusted in the classroom. Some observable behaviour for identifying such students is as follows.
The Low Mental ability student behaves as under:

  • He seeks immediate reward.
  • He displays fear of failure,
  • He displays poor academic achievement.
  • He forgets what he has learnt after a short time.
  • He is inattentive and distracted.
  • He shows too much reliance on presentation of concrete objects.
  • He has poor self image.
  • He lacks self confidence.
  • He shows too much dependence on concrete examples.
  • He avoids active participation in classroom activities.
  • He has restricted communication.
  • He has poor muscular coordination.
  • He has difficulty in doing things for himself like eating, dressing, bathing and grooming.
  • He has problem in following what he has been told.
  • He learns at a slow pace.
  • He seeks more repetition and practice as compared to other students.

Teaching the students who have low mental ability

Teacher should provide concrete experience to such students.

  • Such students require repetition and more practice than the normal students.
  • Learning tasks should be presented in small steps.
  • Their attention is to be drawn to important points of the learning tasks.
  • Simple questions may be asked to given them a feeling of success.
  • Immediate Feedback or reward should be the watch word for such students.
  • These students need training in communication skills.
  • The curriculum has to be transacted through simple and interesting learning experience.

Students with Learning Disability: Some students may have specific learning problems such as reading, writing, spelling or arithmetic. For example, some students always read and write’ ‘b’ as ‘d’ ‘was’ as ‘saw’ ‘21’ as ‘12’. These students are said to have a learning disability which arises out of the problems in psychological process. These students should be provided with special help in learning.

Identification of Disability: The following some of the observable behaviors for identification of learning disability.

  • He is always untidy and late in submitting home work and coming to class.
  • He is destructible and cannot remember his time table.
  • He writes number wrong e.g. ‘12’ as ‘21’ as write ‘69’ when asked to write ‘79’.
  • Makes mistakes in spellings, especially omits letter in word as change their place, e.g. pat instead of ‘tap’ or ‘felt’’ as ‘left’ ‘remember’ in place of ‘remember’.
  • He does not read well although his oral answers are intelligent.
  • Reads individual letters in the words but has difficulty in putting the sounds of the letters together. For example, he may say, the sound b/e/g and say ‘Bad’ or sound f/o/g g say ‘frog’.
  • Omits words or limes in reading.
  • He is so excited that he is unable to complete any task.
  • Does not perform well in the examinations although, he is clever and has no physical disability.

Education of students with disability: Such students need help is areas of their disability such as reading arithmetic etc. They can be helped as under :

  • We should adopt suitable teaching strategies to support their learning.
  • We should not criticize the students unnecessarily.
  • Corrective feedback is most important at this stage.

The Gifted Child
Meaning and Definitions
The term ‘gifted child’ has been defined by various authors in the ways given ahead:

Harighurst. “The talented or gifted child is one who shows consistently remarkable performance in any worthwhile line of endeavor”.

  • The gifted child is essential an exceptional child.
  • In comparison to children of his own group, he is superior in some ability or group of abilities.
  • In most of the cases, the gifted children always exhibit superior performance in the area or areas of their only.
  • The ‘gifted children’ includes not only the academically talented but also those who show promise in:
    a) Music, dance, drama, painting, sculpture, writing and other creative arts.
    b) Mechanical work.
    c) Social leadership and human relationships.
    d) Creative scientific experimentation and exploration.
    e) Physical activities like games, sports and gymnastics.
  • It is not essential that a gifted child should posses a very high. I.Q. showing his superiority in general intelligence, on the other children of his own age-group.

Education of the Gifted Children

At the present juncture, all over the world, the students are seen in revolt. They have been feeling a sort of vacuum in the life which is without any ideal or objectives to strive for. It is also an alarming fact that the leaders of these angry youths are founds to be the most brilliant students and the gifted. It makes us think what is wrong with the present system of education. Why is stream of valuable human energy and the talents of such gifted individuals drifting in a negative direction?

Surely, there is an urgent need of a well-thought programme or scheme of special education for the gifted children. The following plans have been put forward by different thinking for providing education for the gifted :

  • Separate Schools.
  • Ability or double promotion.
  • Acceleration or double promotion
  • Enrichment programmes.

It is often suggested that we must have separate schools for the gifted children and adequate facilities should be provided in these schools so that gifted children may “be helped in developing their specific abilities and potentialities.

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