Ravinder Arora – Purti Special Education School, Delhi
Purti Special Education School, based in New Delhi, was started in 1996 as a school for children with learning difficulties and children who are diagnosed as slow learners. It is headed by Ms Ravinder Arora, who is the Director of the school. Purti Special Education school emulates a regular school environment without the pressure of a regular school.
Ms Ravinder Arora speaks to India School News:
I have been working at the centre for 21 years now. The journey can be summarized in one word, “learning”. I have learnt quite a bit about the human mind, insights into the psyche of people, behavioural patterns, problems faced by children with different type of intellectual difficulties by working with my children at the centre, and can humbly say, am still learning.
BECOMING A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER…
My daughter has a leaning difficulty, coupled with dyscalculia. Her school turned her down when she was in class 6th and told me to take her to a special school. She had an academic functioning level far above what the special schools were catering to, back then. So I decided to open my own centre/school and teach her there, along with children who were facing the same problem.
The best thing about being a special educator is the satisfaction that one has after seeing their years of hard work bear fruit, when a child becomes entirely self-dependent. That feeling is incomparable to any other profession.
Ms Ravinder Arorasays that her source of inspiration has been “My father, Dr Bindu Prasad, and Ms Vandana Trivedi. I learnt perseverance, patience, hard work and techniques to handle children having different types of intellectual difficulties.”
Managing parents’ expectations is a major challenge. Making parents’ understand their child’s own unique abilities and not entering into a rat race with a normal children is a primary bottleneck. Counseling and regular parent teacher meetings help in addressing this problem to an extent.
SPECIAL EDUCATION STRATEGIES AND TECHNIQUES
Firstly, we have a very high staff count. We are 38 people with 80 Children at the center. That is almost a ratio of 2:1, i.e. 2 children with one staff member. This enables us to monitor the children very closely and bring out the best in them. Secondly, we use customized worksheets, which our all made in house at the centre. These worksheets are based on what we need to teach the child in the manner in which he/she understands and not in the manner of the teacher attempting to finish syllabus or the learning pattern of any other child. That is the core essence of special education.
RECOGNISING INDIVIDUAL TALENT
A high staff count coupled with loads of activities has helped. We have cooking, dance, music, Yoga, Sports, Swimming, night camps and picnics outside the city, at the center.
This enables us to expose our children to these diverse activities and help us in spotting who has the talent in which area. Then we work on extracting that potential and carving out a rehabilitation path for our children.
ADVICE TO READERS
Develop Patience. That is the foremost thing.
Also, one needs to teach the child in the specific manner that the child can learn in. This easier said than done, and you may need to consult an expert for identifying this method.
Please trust your eyes and not your ears in the field of special education i.e. see the educator’s work with your own child rather than solely relying on feedback of the work with other children.
IQ tests are important, but are the not the penultimate assessment on your child’s mental faculties and are often riddled with errors, if not conducted by a person with the utmost care in these tests. Also, do not get afraid with multiple tags & labels. In this age of iPads, iPhones and internet, we all have a bit of ADD.
Give the educator and the special school some time to work with your child. We need a good 6 months to a year, in some cases, to bring out any changes or extract the child’s potential to provide a tangible result. Also, the school or the special educators have a limited role in comparison to parenting. Parents need to learn the techniques from the special educators and apply it on a daily basis and work with dedication with their child. In my personal experience, whenever, Parents and educators get together to work in collaboration for the welfare of the child, spectacular results are almost guaranteed.
Purti Special Services Foundation
B -209 2nd floor, Ashok Vihar Phase 1 ,Delhi 110052