Scientific tools are set to be used for identification of learning disabilities in students in State schools.
The tools will help in early identification of learning disability so that necessary support can be extended to help them cope with the issues better. They are also expected to curb the widespread misuse of special facilities given to differently abled students for examinations.
The Child Development Centre (CDC) of Government Medical College Hospital here, under the aegis of Samagra Shiksha, Kerala, and the Social Justice Department, has developed the tools for identifying learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. These manifest as problems with listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities.
Till recently, disability certificate for candidates was obtained just before the SSLC examinations. There had been a shark spike in the number of applications claiming benefits such as grace marks, scribe support, and extra time during examinations.
Elaborating on the problem, Samagra Shiksha, Kerala, project director A.P. Kuttykrishnan said learning disability identification was largely seen from the exam point of view in schools. Moreover, this was not scientifically done.
With the tools developed by the CDC, it would be possible to identify if a child has a learning disability and what kind of support was needed.
For classes 9, 10
This year, learning disability in students of classes 9 and 10 will be identified. Schoolteachers will be trained in using the tools and they will identify such issues using a rating scale for indicators. Aspects such as if a child is inattentive in class, has problem memorising things, lacks reading fluency, is poor in mathematical calculations, slow with writing and so on will be evaluated. In the case of students whom the teachers express a concern about, resource teachers will administer tests on general information and comprehension to reach an impression of the child’s intelligence.
A committee led by the Headmaster will then get in touch with the students’ parents and a medical board will certify the disabilities.
Such a screening will ensure that the benefits for differently abled children reach only the deserving students.
With extension of the initiative to the primary section next year, comprehensive development of the children through early intervention approaches will become possible, they add.