BIS #7179 Understanding SEN Strategies at DBHS Matunga

By Ms Bindu Keny for BISMumbai

A three-hour workshop for teachers was organised on 27 April 2024, at Don Bosco High School, Matunga, on the topic ’Special Educational Needs (SEN): Process of Identification and Intervention Strategies’. 

The Principal, Mrs Anita Philip, led the gathering into prayers, and the student counselor, Mrs Divya Immanuel,  introduced Ms Alisha Agha and Ms Khadija Saya from ‘Drishti’ - an organisation catering to children's mental health needs. 

Ms Agha began by introducing Drishti and the services they provide in the field of special education and counselling. Both the resource persons then spoke to create awareness about the educational needs of differently abled children and the need to have inclusion in schools with education becoming a happy experience for all involved. Since all the participants have encountered students with different learning disabilities, they felt the need to be empowered to deal appropriately with such children. 

Ms Agha urged the participants not to label the students with special needs and encouraged them to address the concerns of children with special needs by tracking the problem to its roots. The areas elucidated were:  the cause of the disabilities and definitions, the need to identify them, the types of disabilities and the versions and methods of dealing with children identified as having such concerns. 

The four broad areas of SEN - cognition and learning, behavioural emotional and social needs, communication and interaction, and sensory and physical needs - were discussed in detail. They stressed the point that it is not the child’s fault that s/he has these difficulties and the child is more important than these disabilities. They helped the participants to understand different terms such as intellectual disability, autism, specific learning disability etc. used to describe children having difficulties and what their characteristics would be. Ms Saya then explained why and how early intervention is important and beneficial to the children. 

The facilitators used case studies and a video simulator to give the participants an auditory and visual experience to understand the kind of difficulties these children face. They also gave methods to identify students with learning disabilities and, to check the level of difficulty. They explained the strategies termed ‘The Power of 5’ comprising of seating arrangement, organisation of work and space, delivery of information, classroom management and expectations from students' work. The difference in accommodation and modification, for the benefit of student learning, was discussed in depth. 

The session closed with the point that one needs to model behaviour as children see more than they hear. The skills of empathy, positive intervention and responsive behaviour are paramount in the teaching profession.