As India laid down a new set of guidelines for the education sector in 2020, there was an entire section dedicated to inclusion of children with special needs including those with learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities or having autism spectrum disorders. All the strategies have been designed to be in consonance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016.
The most important provision made in the new policy for integration of children with disabilities is ensuring every school has the resources needed. These include special educators with cross-disability training, establishment of resource centres wherever needed, assistive devices and technological tools required. The policy days the government will encourage and support the schools in every way to enable all children with disabilities in getting the support mechanisms needed for their growth and development. Not only will teachers be asked to ensure these children participate equally in classroom activities and interact regularly with their peers, they will also be needed to see to it that children with special needs take part in co curricular activities like sports and arts.
Children with benchmark disabilities will have the choice of going to a regular school, attending special schools or being home schooled. The resource centers being planned for them will have special educators who will be able to support the kids in their education as well as help the parents in conducting homes schooling activities. Children opting for home schooling will also be considered a part of the mainstream.
Teachers working with younger students will be trained in identifying learning and intellectual disabilities early on. This will enable the education system to support these children in the most appropriate manner as early intervention enables to better hone the abilities of the child. Most importantly, it will help b set a pace of learning that the child is comfortable with without overwhelming them. Provisions like technological tools and flexible curricula will be utilised to ensure fair assessment of the child’s learning and retention.
Training for teachers
New teacher education programmes will include knowledge about identifying and methods of teaching children with specific disabilities (including learning disabilities). Special provisions roll be made under the centrally sponsored Integrated Scheme for School education to come up with ways of providing inclusive education to all children with special needs in general schools. It will also provide funds for special training, education through open learning system, home schooling, itinerant teaching, remedial teaching, community based rehabilitation (CBR) and vocational education based on the number of students needing them.