TECHNIQUES OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN
It is very important to use different guidance and counselling techniques for this special group of children. In this caption we will discuss the same under different headings.
GUIDANCE FOR CHILDREN WITH COGNITIVE EXCEPTIONALITY : Under this caption we will discuss guidance techniques for the (a) gifted (b) creative (c) under-achievers and (d) Intellectual Disabled children.
· Guidance for gifted: These techniques should be used for the gifted children e.g.
q Acceleration programmes may be conducted by providing double promotion or grade skipping.
q Providing for summer institutes and special workshops.
q Organizing additional subjects while in the mainstream course.
q Conducting special schools and special classes may be started for these children.
q Providing early admission to school.
q Allowing for in depth learning of a self selected topic within the area of study.
q Developing independent or self-directed skills.
q Focusing on open ended tasks.
q Integrating basic skills and higher level thinking into the curriculum.
q Encouraging the development of self understanding i.e. recognizing and using one's abilities.
q Providing enrichment programmes that let students investigate topics of interest in much greater detail than is possible with standard school curriculum. It is also known as "broadening the curriculum".
q Lastly organizing Personality Development Programmes may be conducted for gifted students in the schools because sometimes these children may develop certain angularities in the personality due to feelings of superiority and may indulge in bragging ( = boastful talk), looking down upon others etc.
· Guidance for creative : A variety of techniques are used to stimulate creative thinking such as :
q Brainstorming - Students may be asked to think on some topic and generate as many ideas as they can. Ideas based on imagination and fantasy should be encouraged. This fosters creativity.
q Attribute listing - It is a useful technique for designing or redesigning a specific product or service or activity. E.g. A known activity or attribute of a spoon is that it is used for eating, but it can also be used as a lever for opening lids of oil cans, the attribute is being extended.
q Synectics - It specializes in finding solution to complex technical or other problems that have defined solutions by experts. It implies going to the grass roots to generate alternatives to a problem.
q Check list of questions - Questions are the creative acts of intelligence, for they often energize divergent thinking, invention and improvement.
q Providing educational and career guidance to the creatives by giving enough freedom.
· Guidance for underachievers: Children sometimes perform much below their potentiality. The guidance techniques for these children are :
q Help the child identify and analyse the causes for his poor performance.
q Arrange self analysis workshops to identify them.
q Have debriefing (giving a feedback and analysis) where the underachiever is helped to feel the need to improve.
q Group guidance procedures can be used to improve their study habits and skills.
q Identify factors which may hinder adequate performance.
q Sensitize the child for self empowerment and growth.
q Call parent-teacher meetings to discuss such problems.
q Peer helpers may be trained to motivate and help them.
q Child should be helped to set his own goals and motivated to achieve them.
q Individual counselling.
· Guidance for Intellectual Disabled: The primary characteristics of mentally retarded children are their inability to learn and progress in the schools. The guidance techniques for educable mentally retarded are as follows :
q Family counselling programs should be arranged for preparing parents to cope up with this situation. Acceptance of the mentally retarded child is absolutely necessary for the success of any programme of social training and rehabilitation of the child.
q Provide individual instruction.
q Activity methods which encourage learning by doing should be employed.
q Graded curriculum : Since the rate of learning is slow in these children, they have to be carefully graded.
q Need for learning readiness : These children should be prepared for appropriate readiness programmes.
q Concentration : These children can not concentrate for a longer duration of time on studies, hence teaching periods should be of shorter duration.
q Improving memory span : Attractive teaching aids having meaningful association with the subjects should be used to increase their memory span.
q Teach them through real life problems, since these children have very poor imagination or no imagination. Give them concrete examples.
q The guidance techniques for trainable mentally children should be different from those of the educable mentally retarded, because their mental ability is still lower. Time table must be flexible. Teacher-pupil relationship should be warm. Group activities may be used for these children. These children should be trained in a protective environment in their own homes or under the care of an institution. The aim of these guidance techniques should be to make them self sufficient, socially adjusted and emotionally useful as per their limited resources.
q Educable mentally retarded child social support and sympathetic touch as a technique of motivation in learning.
So far we have seen the guidance techniques for the cognitive exceptionality. Now we will see guidance techniques for the physically exceptional children.
GUIDANCE FOR SENSORY IMPAIRED CHILDREN: Under this caption we will discuss the guidance techniques for sensory impaired children under various headings :
(a) Auditory Handicaps (b) Visual handicaps (c) Speech handicaps.
· Guidance for Auditory Handicaps : Under this caption we will see guidance techniques for children who are hard of hearing and totally deaf.
q Children who are hard of hearing should be identified employing scientific instruments by the teacher and should be sent for consultation to an ENT specialist. Teacher may ask such children to sit in the front row. Teachers should try to capture the attention of such students while giving home-work and in the classroom.
q For totally deaf children, special instructions that is lip reading, may be tried.
q Totally deaf children have problems of communication with others. They need to be provided them with hearing aids.
q Provide speech training.
q Residential schools have better chances of success.
q Parents should love their children and try to develop confidence in them.
q Parents should be patient with the child, should not over- expect from them, should talk with their children, should spare time for their children and should cooperate with the doctor, education specialist, counsellor and the teacher.
q Parents should accept the child as he/she is and allows him to mix with other children. Such children should be allowed to use their eyes more as a substitute for ears.
· Guidance for Visual Handicaps : Under this caption we shall study the guidance techniques for visually handicapped children. Visual defects can range from vision defects to partial and total blindness.
q Vision defects can be corrected by wearing spectacles.
q Totally blind children should be sent to special schools where they learn through Braille System.
q Partially blind children can learn to read large print or regular print when magnified under special conditions or with the help of a magnifying glass.
q Teaching aids should include more of auditory and tactile aids, more of verbal cues and three dimensional aids.
q Parents should try to make these children gain fully independent in everyday functioning and learning.
q Help them to learn some skills like : weaving, caning, candle making etc., so that they become economically independent.
· Guidance for Speech Handicaps : Now let us see the last type of physical exceptionality that is speech handicaps. In the guidance programme for this category, the roles of the teacher, the language specialist, and the speech therapist are very important.
q The teacher or language specialist must help the child to improve upon his deficiency in vocabulary by correcting his language pronunciation, spelling and by helping him to enrich his vocabulary.
q Teacher should arrange excursions for such children to places of historical or geographical interest e.g. museum, mountains, lakes etc. Here the children out of curiosity will ask questions, and in turn will get the answers by their teachers. This will help in enriching their vocabulary.
q Speech therapists in hospitals, child guidance clinics, and speech therapy clinics can help such children in correcting and removing the disabilities in articulation and voice to reduce stuttering.
q Stammering is a handicap which owes its origin due to deep psychological factors in the unconscious, which are unknown to the person. Psychotherapists can help in reducing stammering and in building up the confidence of the stammerer.
So far we have seen the guidance techniques for the physical exceptionality. Now we will discuss the guidance techniques for the socially exceptional children.
GUIDANCE FOR PHYSICAL EXCEPTIONALITY: Under this caption we will discuss the guidance techniques for physically handicapped children:
· Guidance for Orthopedic : Under this category the physically handicapped, cerebral palsied and children suffering from Polio etc. come :
q Cerebral palsy and spastic cases can be treated with the help of postural exercises to improve muscle coordination.
q Provide occupational therapy.
q Children suffering from Polio may attend classes but they should be provided with adequate facilities like Crutches, wheel chairs etc.
q Give individual attention.
q While guiding handicapped children, their psychological problems should be taken care of. Help these children to increase tolerance and to accept the disability. Other members of the society and parents should accept them as human beings who also have dignity and worth.
q Provision of special schools.
q For young children games and devices which develop their eye-hand co-ordination should be provided e.g. Peg boards, form boards, take apart toys, colored blocks, puzzles etc.
q School administration should arrange for the services of a physio-therapist, speech therapist and occupational therapist.
q School counsellors should also help these children in their personal adjustment.
q The most important aspect of the guidance programme is that these children should be made to adjust to the devices, gadgets etc. to make things easier for them in the outside world. They should be helped to develop a healthy self-concept.
GUIDANCE FOR SOCIAL EXCEPTIONALITY: Under this group we have Juvenile delinquents and the socially disadvantaged children.
· Guidance for Juvenile delinquents
q Case studies may be conducted of these children and treatment plan can be devised. They may be placed in a rehabilitation centre.
q Psychotherapy may be used for them (Psycho therapy is the method of treatment of emotional and personality problems by psychological means).
q Reality therapy originated by Dr. William Glaser ((1969) may be used. Its objective is to make the individual a responsible person within the community. Educational and Vocational Counselling is a must for them.
q Such children needs to be removed to a better environment.
· Guidance for Socially Disadvantaged
q Guidance programmes for the Socially disadvantaged children must be initiated by the school first and then the family.
q Give individual attention and provide social support.
q Activities in small groups may be conducted for the development of cognitive skills and socialization.
q Use individualized instructional materials.
q Individual differences in readiness, entry behaviour can be looked after.
q Develop language, perceptual skills and memory for verbal mediation.
q Provide proper stimulating environment in the pre-school years - which are best for cognitive growth. The pre-school can bridge the gap between the disadvantaged home and the regular school. Under ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) programmes, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) are an important programme. Anganwadis and Balwadis are established at many places which provide instructional material for the welfare of disadvantaged children and their mothers.
q According to Bernard and Fullmer (1972) involve the family, school and community while helping a child. Some group techniques like use of Role play, Socio-drama and Psycho-drama may be used. Adjustment techniques should also be taught to them in schools.
So far we have discussed the guidance techniques for the social exceptionality. The last area is the Emotional Exceptionality. Let us now try to find out the guidance techniques for Emotional Exceptionality.
GUIDANCE FOR EMOTIONAL EXCEPTIONALITY: Any guidance programme for children under this category must include their family, peers and school personnel.
· Adjustment techniques be taught to them and adjustment training be given to get adjustment in critical situation.
· The teachers should be regularly oriented to the developmental patterns of children for psychological understanding of the child. This can be achieved through lectures, seminars, group discussion, video presentations and case study discussions.
· "Awareness Workshops" for the family members and the teachers should be organised.
· For the development of self of these children, Personal Development Programmes (PDP) should be organised.
· Behaviour modification workshops may be organised where sensitivity training and re-education techniques could be used.
· Dramatization techniques like - role-play and socio-drama may be of great help. Enacting one's problems can have a great Cathartic effect.
· For deep rooted problems, individual counselling should be provided. Allow these children to have interaction with others.
· Other techniques such as Transactional Analysis (T.A.), Rational Emotive Therapy, Cognitive Restructuring, Yoga and Meditation techniques may also be used with these children to build up their inner strength and self-control.
· Special schools and special classes may be arranged for the purpose of rehabilitating such children.