Online classes give a sense of purpose for these youth with developmental disabilities
Most of the special schools and NGOs are holding online classes during this lockdown period. While there are some concerns about the harms of excessive screen time, these sessions are proving to be a great source of fun and learning as well.
This lockdown period, parents are looking into fun and interesting ways to engage their children with developmental disabilities. Since most of them get easily anxious, hyper active or worried, parents and teachers are joining hands to keep them occupied through various techniques. Amongst them, daily online classes are most commonly practiced. Most of the special schools and even some NGOs are holding online classes. Over the years, experts have pointed out how excessive screen time can affect children with disabilities. But youngsters are having total fun with these ongoing online classes.
Pros and cons of online classes
Zoom and other video call methods are the new classroom for students across India.
But this comes with a set of challenges too. It can leave some people exhausted when compared to the traditional classrooms. Video conference demands more energy, patience and attention. Face-to-face meetings are clearly much easier, especially for people with developmental disabilities.
Youngsters under the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are most commonly affected because they get restless very soon. Extra visuals and audio inputs can be a strain to many.
It is not easy to stay indoors the whole day, regardless of whether you have a disability or not. One of the best parts about these online classes are the time spent with teachers and friends.
Deepti Biju, member of Ernakulam Autism Club says that there are many cons to online classes.
“Most of the children do not have an option but to go for these classes though it has benefits for children under ASD. Most of them find it hard to sit for a long time. The most feasible option is that parents must sit along with them for the classes and try to know what the teacher is teaching. They can understand and then later teach it to the child”, she says. Deepti further adds, “Children with autism has sensory issues and hyperactivity. But each child is different. Parents must reach out to them”, she says.
Exciting online classes during lockdown
Geeta Poduval, founder-director of DRZYA, an NGO that empowers people with disabilities through art has been holding online sessions for children.
“All the children who attend my online classes are thoroughly enjoying it because I keep them engaged through activities. They spend nearly 90 minutes every day for my class which is divided into different sections. So the students are literally waiting for it. Personally, I do not think online classes have any negative impacts. They learn from the screen as I do screen sharing. But after all, connecting online and face to face is definitely different”, says Geeta.
Rinku Poojara has a 15-year-old son Nakul Poojara with ADHD. Nakul has been spending time for online classes and yes, he is loving it too!
“He has a half an hour session every day. He has been doing very well and enjoys it too. Yes, I agree that spending time online can cause strain. But my son never had any issues. These online classes has given him a purpose during this lockdown”, she says.
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