Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Ms. Anagha Dehadrai

Speech Language Pathologist
Department of Special Education,
All India Institute of Speech and Hearing,
Mysore - 570 006

Preschool Training for Children with Special Needs: A Proposed Framework

Education plays a significant role in the overall growth and development of children. It is well known that, usually between the age of three to five years, preschool education is a prerequisite before the commencement of statutory education for typically developing children, as children are considered to learn and assimilate information at a fast pace. Children with Special Needs (CWSN) require preschool training at a very early age. In the field of rehabilitation of CWSN, the contemporary thrust is on mainstreaming the children with communication disorders. While preschool age is considered as a crucial period for typically developing children, it is all the more necessary that CWSN are imparted the necessary skills in order to prepare them to meet the challenges ! of mainstream education. As we are aware, India has 2.1% of population [National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), 2001] with disability, a large number of whom need special educational services. Despite this knowledge, the efforts to develop specialized curriculum or approaches to teach CWSN are meager.

The Preschool Training Centre at Department of Special Education, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), aims at training CWSN for overall development in essential areas like Communication, Self-help, Cognitive, Motor and Social skills. In order to improve the efficacy of the training program, an attempt was made to formalize preschool training program. The components of the proposed preschool training program include development of specialized curriculum and activities, battery of tests for establishing baseline behaviors in pre-literacy, pre-linguistic and social skills. The formal training program was held for a semester (4 ½ months) and the study was conducted using a time series design. The outcome of preschool training program is discussed with respect to existing approaches in preschools. The study also offers guidelines for evolving new culture in education for CWSN.