Chennai: Madras Dyslexia Association and National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL)-IIT Madras are offering online teaching courses that provide remedial support to children with Specific Learning Difficulties, free of cost. The courses are targeted towards teachers of primary school children (Classes I-V) and professionals such as occupational therapists, counsellors and speech pathologist. It contains simple methods of identifying and remediating young children with dyslexia.
Multiple-Intelligences approach in these methods, not only makes learning more effective, but also hones innate talents of children with dyslexia. Within a classroom, these methods enhance the learning of the entire class and hence they do not have to be administered selectively. The infrastructure required (at trainee’s end) for this program is minimal – a computer with speakers and an average Internet connection.
Speaking about this course, Mr. D. Chandrasekhar, President, Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA), said, “The learning process of a child with dyslexia is supported by an eco-system made of school, teachers, parents, and other supportive therapists like counsellors, occupational therapists and speech therapists. Each one of them needs to understand the difficulties faced by a child with dyslexia, the strengths and needs of this child. This profile should be used to nurture the child-using the strengths to cope with the needs. Through ‘e-shikshanam,’ MDA is working towards disseminating information on what is dyslexia and basic remedial methods that a child with dyslexia can use to cope with difficulties in reading, spelling, writing and/or mathematics.”
The key features of this course include:
Ø It has been produced by NPTEL, IIT Madras for MDA and is hosted on their platform.
Ø It is available free of cost through a user-friendly interface.
Ø It is modular and split into short segments delivered using videos and transcripts.
Ø Every week a new module is made available and can be completed at a convenient time and place.
Ø End-of-segment quiz enables self-evaluation.
Ø On completion of the course, to earn certification a trainee
· Needs to take an examination
· View Case studies, analyze them, and answer related questions. The trainees gain from this experiential learning of a real-time situation so that they could practice applying the appropriate strategies
Highlighting the impact of this course, which was launched a year ago on April 2019, Prof Andrew Thangaraj, NPTEL Coordinator, IIT Madras, said, “NPTEL IIT Madras is happy to be a part of this initiative. We are glad that this technological leverage is making such a positive impact in the lives of the children with dyslexia and their caregivers. We hope to continue partnering with Madras Dyslexia Association, to help provide support to even larger number of children through newer programs.”
The course is hosted on NPTEL web portal, which has enabled MDA to offer the course free of cost to anybody who is interested in equipping themselves with strategies to cope with difficulties in reading, spelling, writing and mathematics.
The NPTEL portal (https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/) is the channel that is taking this course to a wide audience.
The ongoing course aims to help mainstream teachers and parents who teach children at the primary school level. This course consists of the following modules:
Ø Introduction to dyslexia
Ø Child Development
Ø Study Skills
Ø Multiple Intelligence (MI)
The MDA ‘e-shikshanam’ is enabling timely remedial help to many more children with learning difficulties. Through this, MDA is striving to achieve its mission of facilitating a Dyslexia-sensitive society. Production of a similar course for teachers teaching in Tamil is in progress. This would help to reach-out to children across Tamil Nadu.
What is Dyslexia?
It is a neurological life-long condition which displays no physical manifestations. These children have average to above-average IQ with unique potentials and abilities for out-of-box thinking. Yet, they exhibit significant disparity between their actual performance and their expected class-level performance. Dyslexia has been identified as one of the reasons for dropouts in schools. Such school dropouts could turn into social delinquents.
Children with dyslexia are educable. Structured multi-sensory teaching, done in the way the child learns, is the best way forward to enable these children to bridge the gap between their potential and their actual performance. These strategies can be imparted to the children with learning difficulties in the course of their regular classroom learning process. Parental support which is aligned with this methodology provides the necessary scaffold to reinforce the learnings.