Victor Locoro, a special needs lecturer at Kyambogo University, gives the following tips.
- Autism: This is a severe disorder of the brain. Children with autism pose difficult challenges to their caregivers. It is difficult to know how much information a non-verbal child is absorbing from conversations. It is important to pay close attention to the triggers they may provide regarding their fears and feelings and provide them with ways to communicate.
Any change in routine may result in additional emotional or behavioural upset.
If the childâ€™s environment must be changed, try to maintain as much of the normal routine as possible, even in the new environment. Try to bring concrete elements from the childâ€™s more routine environment into the new environment to maintain a degree of constancy.
l Cognitive limitations: This means mental problem solving, memory and language. Children with such impairments may not understand events. One needs to determine the extent to which the child understands and relates to any event.
Discussions with them need to be specific, concrete and basic; it may be necessary to use pictures, events and images.
- Learning disabilities: Many students in such categories have difficulty in language, or interpreting text. Teachers and parents need to choose their words carefully to ensure the child does not misinterpret them.
- Visually-impaired: This child needs verbal descriptions. Encourage them to ask questions as much as possible. Also, pay attention to concerns about their mobility around the school premises.
- Hearing Impairment: Children who are unable to hear or lip-read need interpretation. Those who are partially impaired need to be aware of their frustration when trying to keep up with the conversation; not being able to understand can result in greater fear reactions.
- Physical disabilities: Do not be hard on them when they are late for class or late to submit their homework. They cannot be on the same pace with everybody else.
HOW TO ASSIST CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS