Help children with learning issues

With exam season upon us, a swathe of students from different boards across the city are taking examinations at different levels. It is high-stress time for parents and students alike. For schools and colleges, there is more workload, greater responsibility and dual roles, as study hubs become exam centres.

Over the years, we have seen different boards setting up helplines for parents and students as exams near. We have seen schools having special counsellors and professionals who now have a heightened awareness of special children.

These children may have different learning disabilities, which are being identified and recognised by schools. This is a huge leap from, say, two decades ago, when learning disabilities may not even have been on the radar of different academic institutions.

Respond to need
With all that, one must add that learning disability must now be factored into the examination system. Harried parents of Learning Disabled (LD) children must not have to wait for writers or special concessions for their children, like more time to write the paper being announced at the last minute. Schools must take the initiative, maybe, setting up a special help desk for parents of LD children, before and during the examinations. Let not the Board’s helplines be inundated by such parents calling to find out whether there would be any special concessions for children afflicted by learning disabilities.

Firstly, there must be clear communication between the Board and the schools about how exactly children with different forms of LD would be allowed to take their examinations. Then, once the instructions are clear, schools must convey these to parents so that they do not suffer due to high stress.

Preparations for this must start early in the academic year, so that it becomes a natural part of the examination process. Identifying LD is one part. Factoring in LD in mainstream education is the way forward.

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