The Vasant Valley - Special Section represents a pioneering move in Inclusive Education in a developing country where there is little recognition, acceptance or resources for educating children with special needs in an inclusive environment.
The section for students with special needs has grown out of our commitment to society. From this has evolved the philosophy of the special section that every individual is dynamic and modifiable. All children have the potential to change, given the right kind of intervention. The school provides services to children with Developmental Disabilities between the ages of 5+ and 16 years.
Our objective is to provide children with special needs an appropriate learning environment whereby they graduate from a regular school equipped with the necessary academic, functional and social skills.
Based upon our experience, we feel that for any school to practice inclusion it is essential to have a team of professionals working on different developmental aspects of the child. A full team of professionals constituting special educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists and psychologist staffs the Special Section. Therapy is provided on a daily basis. The academic content is age ,ability and class relevant.
The Director of the school and mainstream teachers are fully integrated into the planning and execution of programmes for the children of the Section. The class teacher requires the support of these inputs to meet the curriculum demands of individualized planning.
The Early Years Program is specifically designed for children between the ages of 4 and 8, who are on the Autism Spectrum, have severe impairments and would benefit from intensive support in a small, highly structured setting. Each child follows an Individual Education Plan specific to her skill sets and strengths. The classroom is designed and structured in keeping with the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and the Creative Curriculum. Occupational Therapy, Speech and Communication therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy as well as Special Education services are provided in 1:1 settings.
A "Life Skills Functional Curriculum" has been developed for each child within the section so as to guide their development in a focused and strategic manner particular to the circumstances of each child as an individual. The life skills curriculum has a time horizon of 6-8 years in the areas of cognitive development, social competency, leisure, home management and employment. A grounding in life skills prepares children to deal resourcefully with people and situations they encounter in the community, helping them manage finances and interact in social and family dynamics, appreciate their own rights and respect the rights of others.
Our emphasis has always been on how the child's routine is structured through the day. The academic content has been individualised to cater to the needs and abilities of each child. Some of the children follow the mainstream curriculum, some a parallel curriculum and the others a functional curriculum. The Functional Curriculum has been designed to prepare the children to function as independently as possible in an integrated society. They share the same time-table as the mainstream and participate in all activities, hobbies, physical education and performing arts as provided in the time-table of the regular school.
Successful integration requires modification in functional real life ways - our belief is that, in essence, life is the curriculum.
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