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Archive for the ‘empowering’ Category

N I O S website

Those who are interested to know more about the National Institute of Open Schooling may please visit its website at http://www.nos.org/

All details can be had from its pospectus online.

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There are many resource centres in Bangalore that offer coaching to students who take up the syllabus of National Institute of Open Schooling. The list can be had through the Resource Directory published by Banjara Academy, Bangalore. Tel: 2353 5787, 2353 5766.

There are also some schools who teach NIOS syllabus in regular classes from 8th Standard onwards. Here is the list:

Asha Kiran Special Need School (Integrated School), # 15, 7th Main, Indira Nagar 2nd Stage, Bangalore 560038. Tel: 25258159.

Deepika School (Integrated School), 28th Main, 35th Cross, Jayanagar 4th T Block, Bangalore 560011 Principal: Smt Seetha krishnamurthy, Tel: 26645767

Deepika School (Branch), #2805, 14th B Main, 8-E Cross, Attiguppe, Vijayanagar, Bangalore. Smt. Hema Nataraj Tel: 2339 3222

Poorna School, Opposite DPS Bangalore North, Sathnur Village, Bagalur Post, Jalla Hobli, Bangalore 49. Smt Indira Vijayasimha, Tel: 2279 2042

Parijma Learning Centre, BTS Depot Road, Wilson Garden, Bangalore 27. Ms Archana, Tel: 2223 8534, 2224 3634

Kensri School, Mariya Street, Mariyanna Palya, Bangalore 24, Tel: 2353 3528, 2353 7665

Larkspur House of Learning, # 3/4, Berlie Street Cross, Langford Town, Bangalore. Tel: 2272 7183, 98807 11736

Iyer High School, HMT Main Road, Mathikere, Bangalore 54. Tel; 23372714

Nehru Open School, St John’s Chrch Road, Bangalore 05. Tel: 2546 0531

Spastic Society of karnataka, # 31, 5th Cross, Off 5th Main, Indiranagar 1st Stage, Bangalore 38. Tel: 2528 1831, 2527 4633

Cluny Convent High School, 11th Main, 14th Cross, Malleshwaram, Bangalore 03.

Baldwins Girls High School, Richmond Circle, Bangalore

 There may be many other Institutions in Bangalore that are offering NIOS syllabus. Readers may kindly add to the list.

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Many parents have been searching for information on centres that may help children with LD.

Banjara Academy, a counselling centre for emotional issues, chaired by Dr. Ali Khwaja, situated in RT Nagar, Bangalore, has publised a Resource Directory listing out various institutions and individuals in Bangalore who are helping children with Learning Disability. The Directory is available at their office for sale. You may please contact them on phones : 2353 5787 and 2353 5766

Best wishes to all.

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Time eats up the world!

How true the Upanishadic statement is! Well, I do not have to certify it as the Truth. I am only happy that the Truth of the statement has dawned upon me! I am humbled by the statement. We all have to live this day as if Tomorrow does not exist for us. And if Today were the last day of my life, what do I need to do? ………………………. for the realisation of the Ultimate Truth! ………… well, I do not do anything, I do not seek anything, I just dis-cover by shedding all false identities 🙂

Then why am I wasting my time here blogging??? What am I gaining out of this activity?? – other than the fact that it is nurturing my Ego day by day as I see an increase in the number of hits that my Blog receives…………………. and inflating my Ego by basking in all the appreciation that I receive for the posts that I write!……………. it is all ‘me’ and ‘mine’ that increases the restlessness of mind……………… what post to write next? what reply to give to comments? what rejoinders to write?…………………. all reinforcing the “I”………………

No, this is not what I want. There are more important things to realise having born as a human being. More interesting Knowledge to achieve, realise from within, for which I need to devote my Time. I can not while away my time in the illusion that I am the saviour of everybody by providing information about Psychology and Philosophy ……………….. that is my foolishness, my ajnaana……………………..

Dears, I love you all. But I can not get entrapped in this attachment. I need to wriggle out of this. I shall keep in touch with you all whenever I have something interesting to share……………………. but I need to go now, go deep down into myself, clear all garbage, drop all identities, find HIM, find my true self, realise that state of ‘Egolessness’ and get established there…………………….

With lots and lots of LOVE to ALL of YOU !

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February 14th is an exciting day for young and old lovers alike. It can be a day of celebration of love. Love of all hues and colours, with all its grandness and simplicity. It gives me great pleasure to greet you all on the occasion of Valentine’s Day and say that I Love You All very much!

The word ‘Love’ has various connotations to it. As many connotations as the number of people who think about it and contemplate upon its meaning! The mother’s love to her children, the love between siblings, love and affection between spouses, the love between a Guru and a Shishya, love for God, the love among friends, the love we have for our pets, the love of the country, the love for a noble cause dear to us and so many others and then the most prevalent meaning as understood by ordinary mortals, the love between a young girl and a boy that has been celebrated through out human civilization in various forms of art and literature.

This love between a couple – a boy and a girl, a man and a woman, between two people of the same gender, as it is coming out of the closet more and more these days, generally have three faces to it. The intimacy, passion and the commitment. The generation and sustanance of love between two people depends on the amount of these three ingredients in different proportions.

First of all it is the physical attraction that brings two people close together. This attraction is triggered by the proximity of the two people. Perhaps they live in the same neighbourhood or study in the same class/college or work in the same company or may travel together to workplace. (It need not always be the physical proximity. It can even be the frequent proximity over an electronic medium like this, where the physical attraction exists only in imagination! 🙂 ) This proximity helps develop  aquaintence that may lead to excahnge of ideas and opinions. When the similarities in ideas and ideals become known, the attraction may grow stronger. They can come closer to each other  emotionally too and sparks fly, making the relationship a passionate one! But sometimes it is mere physical attraction that leads to passion and it may or may not last long. It may be just infatuation and may die down soon.

The emotional closeness leads to intimacy wherein the two individuals are ready to care and share. They may develop concern for each other’s wellbeing that leads to lot of sharing of personal information. This intimacy can lead to passion when the two may desire sexual intimacies. But their love may not feel complete until they feel committed to each other in this relationship. It is this commitment that takes them to the marriage altar.

Out of these three ingredients of intimacy, passion and commitment, passion may not last very long. After few years into relationship, it is bound to wane. It continues its existence, but not on the top of the list. Without a burning passion also, two people can remain good friends. It is the intimacy that keeps them close. Lot of sharing and caring continue to happen that keep them together. They show concern for each other and help the other resolve so many issues. In certain cases love can just be a platonic relationship (without hint of sexual desire between the two) being good friends and being there for each other in case of any crisis.  Coming back to what we were discussing, some times, the intimacy may slowly decline in relationships because of so many factors, like, getting too involved in their own careers, excessive indulgence in undesirable habits like drinking and gambling or even extra marital relationships.  People then slowly drift apart emotionally. They may even go in for a legal separation. But in some cases the commitment that they have made to each other can still bind them together, in the common interest of others who are depending on them.

Now a days we see lot of passion between a couple in the initial stages of friendship, which they may mistakenly believe as love. During the passionate moments they would have revealed their intimate matters to each other. But when passion dies and no commitment binding them, they can break apart leading to the emotional devastation of both.

It is this set of passionate couple that may go overboard celebrating Valentine’s day in all its elation. They shower expensive gifts to each other, dine at the most upmarket restaurant, promising everlasting love to each other. But without the commitment, it just can not last long. Many would be nursing a commitment phobia! How long can they go on like this? One of the partners is bound to seek the commitment in this relationship and the other partner feels that it is time to quit!

These days there are many ‘no-strings-attached’ casual relationships that both young girls and boys are ready to carry on. But it can have very serious repercussions, both on physical and mental health. They can not tread this path ignoring all the warning signs well written on the wall. Somewhere they need feel responsible for themselves and also the other person involved and wake up from this foolish stupor.

Marriage requires commitment. It can have the other two -passion and intimacy also in equal measures. To continue the commitment ’till death do us part’, lot of adjustments and compromises are needed. Subtle sacrifices are done. Love and trust are the strong pillars that keep the couple together. One needs to work on it like in any other relationship. No body can take the partner for granted. Mutual respect need to be accorded, space given to each other and yet feel totally connected. Valentine’s day or no valentine’s day, the intimate emotional bond can continue to get strengthened over the years……………….

All the above mentioned love are limited, conditional. If conditions are not fulfilled, then love disappears. But there can also be a love of a different kind that is limitless and unconditional! It is beyond bodily love or commitmental love. This love is in all our hearts. It is a gift that comes with creation. We are not aware of it. When we are ready to give that love unconditionally to others, the spring of love can overflow. It can touch every heart that comes in contact with that flow. This love is beyond gender, race or religion. It is the ultimate love that can soak everybody and is therepeutic to all. It can be panacea for all illnesses. It is spiritual. You just have to look within and unleash it. It can spread everywhere and pervade the whole universe. More you are ready to give, more it gets replenished. That is the Truth, the auspicious and the beautiful – Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram!

And it is this Love that I am giving all of you on this Valentine’s Day. I have no expectations of reciprocation from the other end.  I simply give becoz I have it in abundance! And I love giving 🙂

Love you all!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I have decided to conclude the post today, however lengthy or short it may become !

We have discussed the various LD markers and also the probable causes. OK, Once we have identified a child with these difficulties, what do we do?

The child needs an assessment by an Educational psychologist or a Special Educator who may administer various tests to find out the its abilities in the areas of reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic. It is important to rule out any hearing or vision problems before conducting these tests. It is also important to collect information about the family history/background to rule out any serious emotional disturbances. If the child is suspected to be experiencing serious emotional disturbances either at school or at home, those disturbances need to be addressed first before proceeding with the tests.

The tests may be standardized psychological tests where norms have been developed earlier so that our child’s performance may be compared to those norms and its degree of difficulty assessed. Or psychologists can develop their own tests based on the criteria that a child of that particular grade/age needs to be proficient with. Some curriculum based tests can also be administered to find out the child’s grade level. A child is said to be experiencing Learning Disability if its performance is below 2 grade levels.For example, if a child who is in 4th Grade is only able to read and write at 2nd Grade level or even less, he could be having LD. If the child is good in arithmetic but not in languages or if the child is good in languages and is poor in computing the numbers, it could be a case of Specific Learning Disability. These labels are used only to exchange information between professionals and to understand the remedial measures required for the child, but not to demoralize the child or the parent. Professionals need to be extremely sensitive to the feelings of the parents and the child. We need to validate their feelings of shock, disappointment, disillusionment, anger or denial, that they may express when they learn about this condition of their child. Professionals need to offer counselling to the parents to make them understand that their child despite the difficulties, can still be able to come up in life in one or the other area of skill. Even academics can improve to a great extent given one-on-one remedial teaching, depending on the degree of disability – it could be mild, moderate or severe. Earlier the problem identified, earlier the remedial measures could start and better would be the outcome. Parents’ acceptance of the issue is the most important factor in proceeding further to seek help for the child to overcome the difficulties.

Remedial classes can be arranged by the school itself or parents need to identify such facilities in their area and the child can attend the classes 2 or 3 or 4 times a week according to its learning needs. Many schools in Bangalore have Resource Centres now that cater to the learning needs of these students. Their specific problems are addressed in these classes unlike in a regular tuition class. Teachers at school can be requested to reduce the burden of home-work to these students so that extra time can be devoted to the learning needs of the child. Teachers can also be requested to give due credits to the oral expression of these students than to evaluate them based only on their written expression.

Many parents realize that their child is having severe problems only when the child reaches the high school. Suddenly the syllabus also increases, parental and teacher pressure increase and the boy or the girl becomes self-conscious of the difficulties that they are undergoing and the insults that they hear from all sides, that they can get into depression. Their frustrations mount and they may become aggressive. Added to this would be the turbulence of entering puberty and various confusions that ensue. Counselling can help them realize their strengths first and then the weaknesses and how to overcome these weaknesses. It is important to keep in touch with the school teacher too to understand the academic and non-academic behaviour of the child at school. The school teachers who handle the child need to be sensitized of the difficulties the student is facing and how they can cooperate with the professional and the parent to mitigate the problems and boost the confidence of the child.

NIMHANS and St.Johns Hospital are the two places where certificate of LD is issued that can be produced at the State or the Central Board of Education to avail concessions in Languages (the language of medium to continue and the other two languages can be dropped), or substitution of a subject with another(a student I know of selected Music instead of Maths in CBSE) or extra time to write in the exam (for slow writers) or even the services of a scribe(for the severely dysgraphic) can be sought.

The Central Government has also introduced National Institute of Open Schooling System (NIOS)  for 10th and 12th Grade level exams, the Certificates of which are considered on par with the Board Certificates, based on which the student can get admission into mainstream college later on. The advantage of NIOS system is that the student can choose 5 or 6 subjects of his choice from a variety of unconventional subject-combinations. The exams are held once in 6 months (April and October), the student is allowed to write exams in as many subjects as he is comfortable with, which he would have studied at his own pace. The student need to get registered in one of the approved institutions of NIOS syllabus, can attend regular school or schools that offer NIOS syllabus and pass the exams at his own pace.

In case of severely learning disabled students, it is very important to recognize their particular skills and start training them in any Vocation of their choice from the High school level itself. Many schools with NIOS syllabus also have in-house vocational training facilities. Parents need to understand that it is important to make the student self-reliant later on with a vocation learnt earlier, than force the student to pursue higher education when the interest and abilities of the student do not permit this.

To conclude the series of posts on Dyslexia or Learning Disability, that started with a mention of the movie Taare Zameen Par by Director and actor Aamir Khan and how the sensitive portrayal and treatment of the subject catch the heart strings of the movie goers, I would like to tell all the parents and teachers (and other readers) that it is of utmost importance to help any child build good emotional health first, then teach the child all the Life skills, like, communication, decision making, inter personal relationship, emotional management etc, and then give due attention to its academic health too. Recognize a child’s hidden potentials/talents, encourage the child to build on those potentials, acknowledge every desirable behaviour and every small achievement that the child scores, correct the undesirable behaviour with support and love and BE  THERE  EMOTIONALLY  WITH  YOUR  CHILD  ALWAYS – IN ITS SUCCESSES and MORE SO IN ITS FAILURES!

I would like to quote here (my favourite)  sensitive plea of a child to its parents –

“LOVE  ME  MOST  WHEN  I  DESERVE  IT  THE  LEAST;  FOR  IT  IS  THEN  THAT  I  NEED  IT  MOST” !

Series Concluded

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I feel the thread of posts is getting very long and I am afraid I may be putting the reader’s interest off the thread by my elaborate explanations! I think I should conclude it soon.

One or two features that were left out in my earlier posts are included here. The fine motor problems in writing that I have mentioned in previous posts can be sensed much earlier by the indicators, like, lack of firm grip over the objects held in hand, unable to hold writing implements and make lines and circles, unable to tie the shoe lace, difficulty to colour within the boundary, buttoning the garments, difficulty to string beads etc.

These children may exhibit gross motor problems too. Their attainment of gross motor milestones might have been delayed. They would have taken longer months to turn around, creep and crawl, move forward on four limbs, sit upright, stand or walk. They may be clumsy in their running and jumping. They may find it difficult to hop on one leg or skip. They may find it difficult to throw ball at the target or catch the ball. Children hone all their gross motor skills while playing outdoors. But it is very unfortunate that instead of allowing children to play in the evenings, parents are packing them off to tuition classes during this precious hour in the evening!  

Some of these children would have experienced delays in speech acquirement and development. This later on leads to language processing difficulty. Speech problems like stammering, stuttering, articulation difficulties (saying ‘guh’ for ‘kuh’, ‘muh’ for ‘nuh’. ‘luh’ for ‘ruh’ etc). Children who suffer from constant colds and coughs and ear infections may later develop auditory perceptual difficulties.

I have explained most of the markers of dyslexia and I am sure you can now identify those features of dyslexia if you come across them in a child. But what are the causes of dyslexia???

Well, no single cause can explain the Learning Disability that many children experience. However, researchers say that many factors can be linked with this condition.

Genetic: Since LD is seems to run in families, it can be attributed to genes.

Bio-Chemical: Imbalances in chemical productioninside the brain (neuro transmitters)can lead to many problems like ADHD that inturn can lead to LD, or memory problems.

Accidents can lead to brain injuries that can damage certain neural pathways necessary for learning to take place.

Many children who have had epileptic seizures that went unattended or undiagnosed in the earlier stages can develop learning difficulties.

Smoking, alcohol drinking or drug habits of the pregnant mother can lead to developmental anomalies in the foetal brain, which may manifest later on as Learning difficulties. Pregnant mothers who have an addiction to alcohol can give birth to children with Foetal Alcoholic Syndrome or FAS. Excessive smoking can can cause accumulation of nicotine in the pregnant mother that can sometimes lead to mutation of the genes that cause various problems to the growing foetus. Many drugs that are ingested by the pregnant mother to treat infections can also cause distress to the developing brain.

Severe emotional disturbances and depression of the pregnant mothermay affect the developing foetus that may show up later on as LD. 

Problems during delivery of the child, like oxygen deprivation to the brain(anoxia) due to lack of or delayed birth cry that can damage the brain cells. A prolonged labour can cause fetal distressthat sometimes leads to LD.

Environmental causes, like, deprivation of a stimulating environment at critical stages of development of a child that prevents optimal brain functioning, excess of chemicals like mercury, arsenic and lead in the environment can damage a child’s brain.

Since many of these causes are human made, it is in our own hands to take preventive measures that can save children from this affliction.

……………….. to be concluded in the next post

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