Here are my experiences as a Special Educator and as an Individual with my very special students and their parents. Here, 'WE' work together in a special way for a very 'Special Cause'.

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EDventure Academy
EDventure Academy is a Special Education & Remedial Centre founded with a vision to provide equal opportunity to all children with diverse level of abilities. Our learning group is composed of 1-3 students to ensure that every child receives individual attention. At EDventure Academy we offer two models of Programs: A) Morning School Program for kids who are rejected admissions in mainstream schools. This program is an amalgam of a special education and a regular school curriculum in a nut shell. Currently children with Autism, Intellectual disability, Down Syndrome, Global Learning Disability, etc are benefiting from this model. B) Evening Remedial Program for kids who attend regular schools and need support in specific areas like reading, writing, spelling, memory, attention, sitting tolerance, behaviour modification etc. Currently children with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, Slow learners etc attend this program.
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

2016-2017.. THE YEAR that was.

As we draw towards the end of yet another academic year, it is time to sit back and take stock.To think of the various activities, milestones, achievements and tasks of the year that has been.

We have indeed come a long way. From a humble beginning, EDventure Academy is now a registered trust.  

Our morning school reaches new heights. We have an eclectic mix of 29 kids grouped into 5 classrooms – Sprouts, Buds, Flowers, Fruits and Harvest. We have 2 resource rooms (Twigs & Garden) for 1:1 coaching. Our team of 15 dedicated special educators ensure that each child is nurtured to his/her full potential. Our teacher student ratio of 1:3 takes care of the varying needs of each student. 
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We are proud to share that our “Fruits” class children are preparing for their NIOS exams and that we have been successful in mainstreaming 3 of our younger children namely Aniruddh, Harish and Kali, for the Academic year 2016-2017.

 Five of our kids from the Academic Year 2016-2017 have got admissions confirmed in the mainstream school for the academic year 2017-2018. 

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sensitization of mainstream kids to accommodate special needs kids in their classroom. 

Two of our young Turks, Nikitha and Lizaba, are budding teachers.They have also forayed into the bakery business making us very proud of their achievements.

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Through our Evening Remedials program we are able to reach out to another 30 children whereby we provide after school Special Education support. Some of these children attend mainstream schools while others go to special schools. We assess the gaps in their education and try to fill them. We start with 1:1 coaching and later move onto 1:3 as and when the child is ready. The uniqueness of this program is that we open the available slots for this program on a monthly basis and parents can choose as per their requirement and schedule on a first come first served basis.
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We have warmly welcomed many newcomers to our EDventure family who share our philosophy of providing opportunities and training to every child irrespective of the capability. So, we now have Ms. Achuta Nadapana who conducts Art Based Therapy, Brain Gym by Ms. Anita E Abraham and Speech therapy by Ms. Jiji Mathew. In addition, we have yoga sessions for our teachers, a small play area for our kids to unwind, HR and PR consultants for better management and an ever growing parent community who provide support to different initiatives. The most loved of all is our little pup ”Cookie” - the stress buster therapist.
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To enable our parents to understand the specific needs of their child and to empower them to better support their child, we organize a wide variety of workshops in house where we invite various experts to speak or train on the respective topics.This year we have successfully conducted workshops on Avaz, Nutrition, Photography, Storytelling, Mendability, Dance & Movement, Biomedical Treatment, Play Therapy for parents & Kids, ABA - Applied Behaviour Analysis and Financial Planning.
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We believe in holistic growth and experience based learning. It was with this view that we organised various field trips for our students. This year they were taken to aquarium, a nursery, a corporate office to experience the corporate culture and also to a neighboring Dominos outlet.
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In the month of November 2016 (like every year), we have participated in Kalaangana. Kalaangana is an inter school cultural festival organized by Information and Resource Centre (IRC), Bangalore with a focus on Special children. Kalaangana was conceived with the objective of bringing out talents and hidden abilities of special children through painting, dancing and singing competitions. Our students participated in group and solo dances, instrumental music, singing, painting and art based competitions. They won many accolades and it greatly helped in motivating them  to develop their potential in social and learning activities. But most importantly, it helped address many non academic issues like stage fright, stranger anxiety and adjustment to unpredictable schedules.
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We have inclusive Saturday competitions twice a month for children. This brings in confidence, team spirit, friendship and fun in the children. It also provides a platform to discover parallel talents. We had competitions on cookery, flower arrangement, rangoli, fashion show, fancy dress, drawing, music, singing  to name a few.

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In the summer we had also organised an inclusive summer camp where 30% of the children were either siblings of our children or had been invited from Kranti Organization in Mumbai. It was heartening to see all these children having fun together in a relaxed environment and working on various subjects like science experiments, art & craft, cooking and gardening .
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Fun, festivities and celebrations should be a part of day to day life and our children should have wholesome exposure to the different colours of life. So we celebrated Friendship Day, Rakshabandhan, Krishna Janmashtami, Onam, Teacher's Day, Children's Day, Christmas, Pongal, Ramzan and many more occasions.

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Our parents and teachers are our extended family and their continuous involvement, support and encouragement helps us achieve better synergy in working with the children. To foster this family spirit we organised various interactions during the year - breakfast meet, Mommies Day Out, Teacher's Day Out and the EDventure family picnic.
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We held our annual carnival in the month of January to groom our young entrepreneurs. This was a medley of food, fun, games, shopping that was conceived, organised and managed by the children. The children held their forte with great confidence. They raised Rs.10,000/- last year which was donated to Kranti Organisation in Mumbai. This year, they raised Rs. 19,000/- and the children themselves will decide as to who would be the beneficiary of their hard work.

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click on the link for more picture. 

In February, we had our Sports Day which was much bigger than the previous years and was conducted in association with Stepping Stones School. The children performed a drill and many indoor and outdoor games were organised. To step up the social and emotional quotient, we had games like relay race, passing the ball,  musical chairs. We celebrated the participation of  Every child and hence everyone was declared a winner. The children were happy to receive medals on the podium.
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As part of our bigger vision to have a more inclusive, responsible and empathetic society, we initiated different social awareness campaigns. In the month of October, our parent volunteers started a Neighbourhood Awareness Drive whereby we sensitised the neighbours to the functioning of our school. We were pleasantly surprised by the warm responses. Awareness workshops about understanding special children and accepting them were conducted at Ravindra Bharathi Global School HSR Layout, Jubilee School, Mahatma Vidhyalaya, Goverment school, Prafull Oorja Organization, at Infosys Campus in Electronics City, etc to name few. 

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The hallmark of our efforts was the awareness Walkathon on World Disability Day and the launch of the #Supporticon campaign. The #Supporticon campaign is an initiative by EDventure Academy​ along with Spastics Society of Karnataka​ in sensitizing the society towards children with special needs. One of our set of parents, Mr Rathish P Subramaniam and Ms Geetha VM, were instrumental in launching the campaign. The #Supporticon, a universal icon to show support to a special friend, is a symbolic representation of any person standing or sitting with a special needs child, leaning on each other's back to show their support. So if you want to :)(: this cause, all you have to do is befriend a special needs child in your locality, bond with him/her, then take a picture back to back with your special friend and post it with the #supporticon on facebook, twitter etc. to show your :)(:

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Recognition of honest efforts is always a great motivation. We experienced that satisfaction when EDventure Academy was a finalist at the Indian Didactics Awards, 2016. The IDA are the only internationally acclaimed awards for facilitating excellence in Education products, resources and services.

More soon!
Team EDventure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saturday Competitions-Our Uniqueness

EDventure academy ensures holistic development of children. Going by the old adage, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", our  academy encourages physical activities, indoor outdoor games and conducts competitions twice a month and stresses on active participation. The motive for conducting such competitions is to increase the child's confidence, overcome stage fright, improve team building skills and social interaction. The students are made to understand that winning should not be the sole reason for their participation but competing and excelling in what they aspire should be the mantra. They are also made to understand that a true sportsman always cheers and encourages his/her fellow team mates and even competitors and happily accepts the end results of the competition. 2014 academic year has many competitions lined up such as drawing, craft, singing/dancing, fancy dress, story telling, drama, food without fire/cooking, elocution, essay writing, best out of the waste, flower/Rangoli arrangement, poster making competitions etc.

The participation is not just restricted to in house students but to other children as well because we believe in and ensure inclusion. It is always a delight to see the turnout and the enthusiasm glowing on the faces of the kids which is inexplicable. They are competitive but do not have any traces of jealousy. These competitions also help them to be organised and disciplined. Sometimes we also include birthday celebrations of our students post the competitions and the atmosphere gets charged with positivity and celebrations. It is wonderful to see the kids enjoying yummy cakes and munchies.

We empathise with our judges because often they are so enamoured by the talented souls that they remain at huge fix when it comes to judging. But it most definitely is an experience enjoyed by the faculty, children/participants, parents and the judges. Yes, weekends were never so much fun before!
EDventure academy also celebrates Sports Day every year because we strongly encourage children to be engaged in sports apart from academics and each year they look forward to it. After all these, lastly but not the least we celebrate our Annual Day every year to thank and honour each and every one part of the family and it is a wonderful recap of the year that passed by. The children add on to the celebrations by performing dances, song, drama, reciting poems and it definitely is a moment of pride for the parents and the teachers. This is moments not just the students but the parents and teachers await with oodles of eagerness for we get to see them  receiving their prizes for the Saturday competitions. 
This year we are very much excited for the Carnival that we intend to organise by the end of the year where in we will display-for sale all the items made and prepared by our students. Items such as photo frames, paintings, sketches, bookmarks, jewellery, glass painting, painted bottles, diyas, gift tags etc., to name a few will be showcased. More details of this event will be posted in future.
So 2014 looks very exciting, energetic and most definitely eventful.

EDventure Academy-Not just academics !!

Learning in any form is learning and we strongly believe that restricting it to only books would be building walls around their minds and limiting their growth. It is very important to incorporate in children the importance of merging theory as well as practicals. So EDventure Academy has carefully designed a time table which includes theoretical subjects like English, Maths, EVS to name a few but also practical subjects like swimming, yoga, dance, music, crafts, arts, cooking, value education, social skills, best out of waste, etc.

Many a times focus is so strongly placed only on academic growth that the child loses connectivity with his/her interests. EDventure academy aims to bridge the gap between theory and practical learning. One of our primary objectives is to aim at the development of one's personality in entirety. SOCIAL SKILLS focus on helping children become responsible citizens and and help them learn skills which are important and necessary for smooth social functioning such as table manners, group interaction, empathy to name a few. VALUE EDUCATION classes aren't designed like the usual "text book" classes. We present children everyday scenarios and situations and help them realise the accepted behaviour by themselves and not resort to spoon feeding. This also helps them build their decision  making skills and makes them more aware and independent. These classes also help them take a stand on situations responsible for their actions. 

DANCE and MUSIC classes are also very popular amongst kids and we quite don't  blame them because we as faculty also love those classes and look forward to them. Dance classes help them in their flexibility and also in eye-hand or hand-leg coordination and music as they say is the 'universal' language so this is also a form of communication because sometimes children are driven by auditory cues as well.

In COOKING classes, we mostly focus on teaching basic food items which do not require fire or adult dependency but we always ensure to keep their safety and notify them whenever any parental guidance is required. We also teach them about nutrition and the essential functions of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, fibres so that our children know 'what' they are eating and 'why' they are eating what they are eating. In order to ensure that their health and fitness is not compromised, SWIMMING, YOGA, MARTIAL ARTS are also taught in EDventure Academy. Body co-ordination, calming of mind, enhancement of well being are some of the benefits these classes provide. Another reason why these classes have been included is because these are group activities and it is through these  classes, students realise the importance of team building and social interaction. 
We also strive to make academics equally fun so we mostly resort to visual teaching methods and also make charts and audio clippings to make learning fun for them. For instance, we made posters on saving animals and environment, planted saplings on environment day and made them realise the importance of maintaining the ecological balance in nature instead of reading texts from books. So we make our learning activity based.

The school has a library which houses many books from store books for tiny toddlers to informative books and journals for parents, faculty and visitors so that learning never stops. We also have a wide range of activity based books that help in improvement of visual skills, analytical skills, comprehension skills, reading and spelling skills etc. There are also books that cater to English grammar, Science, Maths for our children. The reason for having a library is school is to incorporate the practice of silent reading, paired reading, sitting tolerance and not be aversive to books.

There is also an activity room where in we teach them indoor games like carom, supermarket or monopoly, drama, arts, crafts, music and dancing. Sometimes group classes are also carried out in the same room 

We conduct several fun-filled competitions (more details in next post), to ensure the personality development happens completely.
-Holistic Development is the word!
PS-you must have heard this word earlier, fancy word used by almost every school in the first line of introduction.

Goals and Objectives-EDventure Academy

EDventure Academy aims at development of a child in totality and by this we mean not just academic development but also personality development which includes social skills, behaviour skills and so on. It is very important to us that children enjoy what they learn so that the desire to grow remains alive. We most definitely believe in retaining the innocence of our children so that they enjoy their growing up process. This is why we always strive to keep the smiles on their lips intact. Parents invest a lot of faith, trust and belief in us and it is our moral duty and responsibility to see that their kids are in safe hands. We ensure undivided attention to all kids so that they are never neglected. EDventure Academy drafts personalised goals for  each and every student and the teachers progressively work towards them. There is an old adage "Rome wasn't built in a day". This is what we follow in EDventure Academy as well. The students in EDventure Academy show gradual and a steady growth. We do not follow a rigid structure because that creates monotony which invites a high risk of boredom to seep in. This is why we start off with activity based learning and fade out to pen/pencil-paper work. 
The children are not mere students for us but the bright future of tomorrow so we ensure that the stars do not lose their shine. Our aim is not to correct the past mistakes or crib/dwell on limitations of children but to strengthen their potentials for a better tomorrow by providing an opportunity for a healthy and happy today. 
When a child comes to us with an assessment  report we write down goals in a way that their potentias are used to overcome their limitations.
We use the strategy which the child learns and enjoys. So, at first we try to understand what type of a learner he/she is and then we design realistic and easily achievable goals.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What is special?

Special are the students, their parents and the educator. Special is their educational process itself because it's a specially designed instruction given using special materials, teaching techniques, equipment and / or facilities if required.

Many parents and teachers ask me this question....

But why??? 
It can be due to inadequate infant stimulation, genetic, poor parenting,  impaired metabolism, psychological, gestational (prenatal, perinatal, natal, postnatal),ailments,  chromosomal, psychiatric, environmental factors etc.

It can be because of one or more than one of the above mentioned reasons. 

(FAQ:WHY only my child??? Answer: not just your child..!!)

Instead of paying focus on ""BUT WHY???"" will be better to focus more on  "" WHAT NEXT???""

What to do if you suspect...?

a sample picture showing the procedure (it varies from institute to institute)
CT= Class Teacher
SE= Special Educator

Initially children are screened using checklists. After screening, the class teacher and special educator work together primarily to support the child with few changes in the classroom set up. If the difficulties/ problems faced by the child are addressed, the support being given will be gradually faded, if not addressed...then it's high time to refer the child for a formal assessment. From the assessment the child's potentials ,difficulties and the current functioning level will be identified. Basing on this assessment reports, a Multi-Disciplinary team works together in planning the program and it's implementation.

A multi-disciplinary team consists of the child's parents, class teacher, special educator, doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist (OT), physiotherapist (PT), speech therapist (ST), behavior therapist (BT) etc. Number of professionals required in designing and implementation of the program varies from child to child.

A program designed for a child is called as an IEP which means Individualized Educational Program, which is unique and tailor made for each child, and is done for over a period of time. It truly addresses the special needs of the child. It helps in overall development of the child.

After the implementation, the child is re-assessed  to check the improvement and is integrated.

The ultimate aim is to integrate the child in mainstream education. The child has to be included in a normal / regular educational set up, and lead an independent and quality life just like/ even better than peers of same age group.

Who are SEN children?

Who are children with Special Educational Needs(SEN)?

Children with Special Educational Needs(SEN) are those who have impairments, disabilities and other problems, facing difficulties during learning processes.

E.g., Visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired,  Intellectually Disabled, Locomotor Disabled, Behavior problems, ADHD, Autism, Gifted children, Speech and Communication problems, Slow Learners, Learning Disability etc.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What, Where, and Why

What is this?
This blog is a helping hand, mainly for all special parents, teachers, special educators. In this blog you will also find information regarding EDventure Academy.
Where is this?
EDventure Academy, a tailor made educational set up started to meet the special needs of children. This is here... very much in Bangalore, India.

Why is this?
This blog is primarily to bring about awareness and act as a resource centre for all those who are looking on the internet for that so called lifting hand---SPECIAL EDUCATION.