Teaching children with intellectual disabilities
A child’s intellectual disability is not a disease or a contagious condition. Intellectual disabilities can be of varying degrees, so children with this disorder can achieve different results.
Impairment of intellectual development is a primary disorder that is not treated, but consequences and features arise from it that the teacher can correct. Speaking about research and development, we are mainly talking about brain damage, therefore, on the basis of organic damage to the central nervous system, a pronounced decrease in cognitive activity is observed.
Recommendations for improving the educational process of a child with intellectual disabilities
To show the child’s potential and help him open up, develop creative activity.
For the learning to be productive, it is necessary to feed the child for the school day from the very beginning. Explain the difference between taking breaks and studying. Tell what happens during the break, what you can do during it.
In order to stimulate a student with intellectual disabilities to study, it is necessary to reward even small successes, and not to evaluate their absence.
To form a positive image of a teacher, it is necessary to make it clear that he is a safe adult, you can listen to him, follow the instructions from him.
In order not to make a mistake, one should not make premature conclusions, one should give the child time, each student has his own pace of development and adaptation. A child with intellectual disabilities may take longer to do this.
And finally, the teacher should work not only with the child with intellectual disabilities, but also carry out preparatory work with other students. Tell the students that a new student will come who has certain disorders, explain the peculiarities of the violation and how to behave with such a classmate.
The last point is no less important than the previous ones. Often, when a child with intellectual disabilities experiences very positive emotional contact with a teacher, he or she loses the ability to communicate with other children. This communication is outside of his comfort zone, so building friendly relations between the child and intellectual disabilities and his classmates is an important stage in the entire development of a special child. This skill will be very useful for the further self-care of people with intellectual disabilities.
Specific advice to the teachers (or their assistants) for working with a child with intellectual disabilities:
1. Pay attention to teaching practical spatial, quantitative and temporal concepts. If at some point you understand that the concept is abstract, replace it or try to explain it (in speech or with the help of additional visual material).
2. Place an emphasis on learning everyday skills. Self-catering, dressing, hygiene, self-organization. It is impossible to teach a child to write if she does not know how to sit at the table for a long time and concentrate on her studies.
3. As noted above, social skills play an important place in the life of a child (person) with intellectual disabilities. Encourage people to work in pairs or small groups, organize class activities, encourage socializing during recess.
4. Communication skills are fundamental for teaching a child with intellectual disabilities. The ability to complete tasks and instructions, the ability to understand and answer questions of various nature, understanding of the addressed speech – this is what you should constantly work with.
Note that each child with special educational needs often requires an individual approach to learning, as well as the preparation of an individual educational program. Therefore, the above recommendations should be considered and adapted for different children and their capabilities.
To encourage learning for children with intellectual disabilities, our company Briolight has developed interactive equipment and selected interactive effects. They were compiled, implemented and tested in collaboration with practicing psychologists, speech therapists and defectologists. The main equipment includes: interactive floor, interactive sandbox, interactive panel.