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Early identification of learning disabilities stressed

Staff Reporter

Remedial teaching and training can be done after school hours to improve children’s skills

— Photo: K. Pichumani

Addressing issues: Additional Professor of Child Psychiatry, MMC, V. Jayanthini, (left) in discussion with Head of Social Work Department of D.G. Vaishnav College Vidya Srinivasan at a seminar on dyslexia in Chennai on Tuesday. Other faculty members of the department are in the picture.

CHENNAI: The need for early identification of learning disabilities among children and remedial training to enhance their skills was discussed at an awareness seminar on dyslexia organised at D.G. Vaishnav College here on Tuesday.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Department of Social Work of the College and Madras Dyslexia Association.

Inaugurating the seminar, V. Jayanthini, Additional Professor of Child Psychiatry Department, Madras Medical College, said about 10 to 15 per cent of children in India were affected by learning disabilities. However, many of them may have only minor problems that could be addressed in mainstream schools. The children may have difficulties in reading, writing and spelling words, but not thinking. The intelligence quotient of such children was above average.

Pointing out that a child’s IQ is evaluated based on examination, she said the need of the hour was assessment of such children on their strengths. She cited a case study wherein a child, who had difficulty in writing, was now an MBBS student. Though the writing skills were not good, the student had acquired knowledge about the subject.

Ms.Jayanthini also highlighted various concessions given by the government to such children, including the one that allows teachers to read out questions during examinations. She insisted that awareness seminars be conducted for teachers and parents for better understanding of the issue.

N. Suresh Kumar of Department of Clinical Psychology, Sri Ramachandra Medical University, spoke about ways to recognise the symptoms of dyslexia.

Sangeetha Madhu, clinical psychologist at N.S.M.Centre, highlighted the need to counsel parents for recognising the potential of such children.

Lakshmi Lakshminarayana, special educator of Madras Dyslexia Association, spoke about remedial teaching and training that could be done after school hours to improve children’s skills. Visual clues could be given to facilitate easy comprehension of words.

V. Sayee Kumar, faculty, Department of Social Work, D. G. Vaishnav College, said that about 200 participants, including school teachers and students of teachers training colleges, attended the seminar hosted by social work students. Similar seminars on various themes, including drug abuse, community health and AIDS awareness would be organised.

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