Staff Reporter

Doctors explained why the child’s poor marks should not be held against it for being lazy and unintelligent.

KOCHI: For Meera Kumari, the workshop on ‘Learning Difficulties and Open Schooling’ was an eye-opener for avenues to get her 11-year-old child educated according to her abilities.

“I did not know that such avenues existed and am glad that the school informed me about it,” she said.

“She is helped at school through its resource room though I had been sending her to tuition classes too after school,” said the mother. “I realised that such tuition classes are no good to her unless individual attention is provided,” she said.

There are hundreds of such parents who are unwittingly stretching their children who have learning problems.

There needs to be more awareness about how these children can be coached and provided with basic education and depending upon the child’s abilities can also go in for higher education, said Nitya Gopalakrishnan, director Sparsh Charitable Trust, which conducted the workshop recently in Thripunithura.

Radha Thevannoor, parent of a seven-year-old said the workshop was very informative in the sense parents who had arrived there could now think of another avenue for their child with learning problems which was not as stressful as the regular school system.

Not everyone is aware of remedial education and most of the parents who had come to the workshop did not know why their child was backward in academics, said Dr. Thevannoor, director, SCMS.

The doctors at the workshop explained in great detail why the child behaves in a difficult manner and why the child’s poor performance academically should not be held against the child for being lazy and unintelligent.

Dr. Abraham Paul, paediatrician, gave a presentation on ‘Clinical Aspects of Learning Disability’ and Dr. Thomas John, paediatrician and psychiatrist, talked about ‘Social Aspects of Learning Disability’.

Mrs. Gopalakrishnan, in her presentation on Open Schooling tackled issues like what the course is all about, how one can enrol and details about study centres, when to enrol and what to study.

Over 250 parents and teachers from about 25 schools attended the programme. Parents, who constituted about 80 per cent of the gathering, were worried about the kind of future that lay ahead for their child with learning problems. According to Dr. Thevannoor, she found answers to a number of her queries.

Shyby Alby, a teacher from Nav Nirman Public School, said that the clinical and social aspects of learning problems were quite informative. She said that their school already had programmes to provide individual attention to children who were backward in studies.

According to another teacher who attended the programme, resource room counselling is provided to students up to VIII standard. “We refer such children to coaching centres that can provide more individual attention”.

K. Babu, MLA, Renjini Suresh, chairperson, Thripunithura Municipality, participated in the inaugural session of the workshop. The first batch of students coached at Sparsh, who passed out their secondary school in the Open School programme were given prizes on the occasion. Zubin Toms, Vishnu B. and Ajay Anand were the prize winners. Among them Zubin scored 78 per cent marks.

For more details on Open Schooling, Sparsh can be contacted at 2783602, 9388607979 or 9447127817.