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Prepping for the mainstream

This certificate programme equips young adults with learning needs, with formal vocational training and skills

The London Learning Centre (LLC), Delhi, in collaboration with Ansal University, Gurugram, has announced the launch of India’s first-ever certificate programme for young adults aged between 18 and 32 years with mild to moderate learning needs. The one-year course will support them to learn and work towards achieving their ambitions.

Though all children and young adults learn in different ways and at different rates, the term ‘additional learning needs’ refers to those with specific learning, physical or sensory needs that make it harder for them to learn compared to their peers. This also includes individuals with a learning disability. “Based on in-depth cognitive assessments and screening during admissions, we identify individuals with ‘mild to moderate’ needs, in order to ensure that they are the best fit for the programme, since this course is specifically developed to be suitable for and match the abilities of such individuals,” explains Jackie Harland, Co-founder and Clinical Director of LLC.

Learning support

LLC was established by Harland along with Pooja Talwar to create a therapy centre of international standards in India. It provides expertise and consistent support for children and their families through its multidisciplinary team and its in-house early intervention screening mechanism and intervention programmes. The first cohort of the programme will admit five to six young adults with special needs, and will begin at Ansal University’s campus in Gurugram.

Harland elaborates, “This programme is aimed at preparing young adults for formal vocational training tutored by internationally trained psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and special educators. The course has been carefully curated, keeping in mind a certain set of skills required for independence, managing personal finances and acquiring soft skills to gain and maintain a job. Furthermore, students will have the flexibility to work at their own pace.”

Every student will go through a standardised assessment and a personal interview. This will help the centre in identifying their level of functioning and specific individual needs. Once the needs are identified, each professional in the multidisciplinary will work together to support the individual, based on the professional’s area of expertise. “For example, one of our students is a high functioning young adult with autism. We set up a series of workshops that were conducted by a psychologist from LLC, who provided him with one-on-one training to help him develop critical life skills, which include management of personal finances and independent travel,” explains Harland.

The faculty comprises a multidisciplinary team featuring psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and special educators. “Our team is internationally trained and our psychologists hold licenses to practise from international regulatory bodies. This team brings together their expertise and skills to support each individual’s needs to enable them to overcome challenges they may face,” adds Harland.

At a glance

The course will run for a year and it includes four modules, with each module spanning over 10 weeks.

Module I:

Functional Social Communication and Language Skills: It will focus on developing students’ communication skills in terms of their functional language in understanding and expression, also in terms of their use of language for different communicative purposes.

Module II:

Independence and self-care: This will focus on enhancing functional numeracy, self-care, presentation skills and activities of daily living, such as managing one’s personal finances.

Module III: Employability: This will focus on developing vocational skills and enable individuals to apply for employment and teach them how to remain employed by learning to cope in the workplace environment and also appropriate behaviours at work.

Module IV: Student specialisation elective: Students will be encouraged to choose an area of specialisation at the end of the first year and opt for subjects such as Catering, Art and Design, Photography, Sports and Fitness, Hair and Beauty, and Information Technology. This is aimed at helping them identify their preferred field of employment.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:30:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/prepping-for-the-mainstream/article31126363.ece

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