Have you ever visited any ‘special’ school? By special school, I mean the school for children with special needs. You might have not, if your child is not suffering from autism. I wish nobody does. I would urge you to please visit such a school some day. If you are a real human, you would leave out, transformed. You would wish if you could do anything to make their life better by any means you can. Mind it, these special schools are not after your money, however your donation is most welcome.

Autism is not a disease. It is a disorder of neural development that affects the communication, thinking ability, response time of individuals. It is a disorder that, ironically, could stay whole life. Children with autism are referred to as ‘children with special needs’. And yes, they are very special. Therefore, they need special schools. They don’t fit in the regular education institutes and among the normal students. There are many schools running in India offering education and training to these special needs children. A few autism schools in Mumbai rank among the best in the country.

These schools are located in various cities and have been making the lives of autistic children better. These schools have special teachers for special students. These teachers are trained at interacting with autistic kids and also had to have a lot of patience. Autistic kids take time to learn something, be it text or an activity. Therefore, these schools teach them using various activities so that they have fun in learning.

To be able to get included in the mainstream society these special needs children clear the SSC and HSC examinations through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). NIOS allows them the flexibility to study and appear for the exam at their comfort. After that, they may graduate from some open university of distance learning courses.

Autism doesn’t affect the children only. It affects their parents as well, and may be more. Parents are always scared for their children. They keep their kids at home so that they don’t harm themselves. They are also scared if the kids may be molested. These schools have counseled the parents that their kids are going to be in safe hands and would leave the school as an educated and skilled individual. They would be able to take up some profession and earn a living.

These schools also offer the autism parent training programs that help parents to communicate with their kids in a better manner. They organize seminars, workshops and family activities and picnics where they ask parents to play and engage with their children. These activities strengthen the bond between parents and kids and gradually make parents confident enough that their children are getting better and living a good life.

Autism doesn’t mean that the children could not do anything. It just means that we need to take special care of these kids and help their parents as well. Support for autistic individuals is a must in our country. You need to look at them as equals and not as a burden.


It’s a familiar scenario to many parents of children with Asperger Syndrome (AS): falling behind in specific subject areas at school, problems socially interacting with classmates, and behavioral issues. Oftentimes, traditional schools misinterpret these signs as common disciplinary problems and are ill-equipped to handle them. Aspergers schools are now an option for parents whose child with AS struggles in a typical school setting. They provide an environment that is conducive to learning with AS and help them to succeed.

Understanding Asperger Syndrome

The first and most important way schools for children with AS help their students is simply by understanding the disorder. Instructors are well educated on Asperger Syndrome and understand that students with AS are often brilliant learners who just happen to understand things differently than children in traditional schools. They recognize their students’ strengths and weaknesses to format a curriculum that creates a more comfortable and confidence-boosting learning environment.

Maintaining Structure

Any parent of a child with AS understands just how critical it is to maintain structure. While generally structured, the schedule at traditional schools can sometimes be arbitrary, making adjustment difficult for students with AS. One of the methods these schools use is a rigid system that lets students know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. Helping students feel more secure in their daily routines can lessen the likelihood of behavioral issues and help to foster a foundation of trust between students and educators.

Providing Individual Attention

If you’re the parent of a child with AS who has had trouble in school, you understand why this is so important. Because children with Asperger Syndrome often require a customized method of learning in order to thrive academically, it’s important for teachers to maintain an individualized approach to their education. In traditional schools, this can be difficult if not downright impossible. Class size, budget restrictions, and highly specific education mandates mean that teachers often have less control over their curriculum and teaching approaches, making it even more difficult for children with AS to learn. At Aspergers schools, students are given the individual attention they need to succeed.

Communicating with Parents

It is critical for any parents with school-aged children to maintain open communication with their children’s teachers and vice versa, but the need is greater for students with Asperger Syndrome. Children with AS are often labeled and categorized as the same, when in reality, every child’s habits and needs are entirely different. Teachers at schools for children with AS maintain two-way communication with parents so that they can work together to understand each child individually and monitor progress.


As a parent of a child with learning disabilities, you understand how important it is that your son or daughter goes to a school that is right for him or her. For you, the most important thing is that your child has a supportive and nurturing place to learn.

Know Your Child’s Needs

You know your child better than any school administrator. Does your child have trouble paying attention in class and would be better served in a smaller learning environment? Are they emotionally sensitive and require more sympathetic teachers and administrators who understand patience? Do they need more individualized instruction in certain subjects? Make a list of the your child’s strengths, challenges and needs and seek a school that will allow them to flourish.

Your Child Has Options

If you’re looking for alternatives to your child’s zoned neighborhood school, most communities have charter and magnet school options that are equipped with special education programs. Many cities also have schools for learning disabilities with curriculums designed for students with special needs and teachers trained on how best to serve these students.

Classroom size

One of the most important things to consider for your child if he or she has a learning disability is classroom size. Students with learning disabilities benefit from more personalized attention and fewer distractions. Large classes can mean high noise levels, which are often difficult to focus in. The quieter the classroom, and the more individualized attention a student gets, the easier it will be for them to absorb their lessons.

Workload

Schools for learning disabilities understand that your child may need more time to complete daily tasks and homework assignments. Teachers at these institutes are attuned to your child’s personal abilities and will assign the appropriate amount of work at an appropriate level to ensure that your child is challenged while not overwhelmed or falling behind.

Technology

Many schools for learning disabilities are bringing in cutting-edge technology to the classroom. Laptops, smart boards and even sensory learning materials are being utilized in teaching and learning.

Change Schools if Necessary

Making the decision to change your child to another educational center can be difficult. However, you must always keep in mind your child’s best interest. If you feel a place is not allowing your child to grow, look around for a place that will help him or her succeed. It takes time and effort to find the perfect place for your son or daughter, but you know it’s worth it.


Your child deserves the best education possible, even if it means a further drive for you or your significant other. Schools for learning disabilities provide a nurturing and caring environment for students with diagnosed learning disabilities. This is an irreplaceable quality of their education, as well as a major source of confidence and community in their life. The numerous benefits of a specialized education make a longer commute well worth it. Providing your child with the opportunity for an education that best suits them is paramount to keeping their confidence high and their mind properly stimulated.

Just like traditional public and private institutes, schools for learning disabilities provide a wide variety of extra curricular activities and programs for children to gain social skills in a friendly setting. Without the pressure of a fast paced curriculum and a body of students that aren’t learning disabled, a student will feel free to flourish in a way they may not be able to at a traditional school.

Unfortunately, students diagnosed with an educational disability can easily become targets of bullying in traditional public or private schools. Students with dyslexia, who suffer from bullying attacks, are far less likely to speak up in class for fear of further ridicule and embarrassment. Schools for learning disabilities provide an environment where other students are learning at the same pace and in the same way. Offering a child the chance to attend an institute that is specially catered to them is the greatest gift a parent can give.

A properly fit education will serve your child throughout their lifetime. Confidence built through a specialized education that’s catered to their needs will lead to creativity and ambition. These traits will greatly serve your child as they take on tougher subjects and graduate into college and careers. Without confidence and conviction, a student may not reach their full potential for fear of failure. Part of what makes specialized education so unique is that it encourages students to banish thoughts of fear and failure and replace them with understanding and encouragement. As a parent, it’s important to do everything you can to get your child to the institute they are best suited for, even if it is located far from home.

Schools for learning disabilities are on the rise across the country. A few years ago, it might have been difficult to find one closer than a few hours away, since their numbers were much lower. However, now that learning disabilities have been recognized nationally for requiring specialized education, new institutions are opening up all the time. A longer drive might give you more opportunity to bond with your child. You can spend this time asking in-depth questions about what your child is learning and how they feel about other students and teachers. No time spent with your child is wasted time, so think of a long commute as just another opportunity to bond with them.


Let me present you with a scenario: Let’s say that, as a master teacher, you design and deliver the World’s Greatest Lesson. This gem of a lesson includes some short input sessions, both reading and lecture. Because of the short duration of the input sessions, you don’t overload your students’ short-term memory buffers. During the lecture sessions, you are brilliant, changing the inflection of your voice, using props to make abstract ideas concrete, and moving around the room, making eye contact with students to keep attention high. You have carefully selected the readings to tap into your students’ prior knowledge of the topic and add important new information. In addition, the texts are high-interest and are appropriate for your students’ reading levels.

In between the input sessions, you have carefully designed a write-pair-share activity where your students get up and move to find a partner, so they reap the benefits of individual processing, peer processing, and movement; a cooperative learning activity where they brainstorm ideas using an equal participation structure, then select their top idea using a voting structure, and finally share their idea out to the class; and a simulation activity which helps your students connect emotionally to the material. As a result of designing and delivering this incredible lesson, you have ensured that your students are highly engaged throughout and that they have worked with the important material in the lesson in multiple ways during the class.

Now, here’s my question: have your students learned anything from this gem of a lesson? You might be tempted to answer immediately, “Of course! It was, after all, the World’s Greatest Lesson.” Well, let’s pump the brakes on the self-congratulatory train a bit.

The fact of the matter is that, technically, your students have not learned the material from the lesson… yet. What they have probably done, given your masterful teaching, is form some solid memory traces due to their encoding of the material and events in the lesson. But, contrary to what most teachers believe, the learning itself (at least as defined by neuroscientists) does not happen during the lesson itself, but rather much later, when your students aren’t even in class.

I know, it sounds strange, but it’s true. The real learning takes place during what is called consolidation, and it’s crucial that teachers understand this process, as it has important implications for lesson and unit design.

Consolidation: What It Is and When It Happens

First, let’s define consolidation. This is the stage of learning following initial encoding, when the mental representations (“memory traces”) created during encoding get strengthened and added to long-term memory. Over the course of hours or even days, the brain reorganizes and stabilizes these memory traces, replaying the initial encoding experiences, making connections to prior knowledge, and filling in gaps. At a biological level, new connections are made between neurons, creating a new “mental map” of the material. Only when these physical changes occur do neuroscientists consider learning to have taken place.

OK, that’s what consolidation is, but when does it happen? I’ve already mentioned that it takes place over a period of time, long after the lesson is over. The process happens mostly at a sub-conscious level, and starts soon after the initial learning, but the key time for consolidation is during sleep, when no new external input is competing for the brain’s processing space. That’s right, we actually do most of our learning while we’re asleep!

Implications for Lesson and Unit Design

When we take into account the crucial role consolidation plays in learning, and when we take into account how long it takes and when it takes place, we are forced to draw some important conclusions that impact the design of our lessons and units. First of all, we should realize that learning takes time, and that trying to cram massive amounts of material into a single lesson does not do anything to speed up learning (in fact, it greatly reduces the amount learned).

But to take this discussion farther, we need to say a few words about massed practice versus spaced practice. Let’s say that a foreign language teacher has a set of thirty important vocabulary words to teach. Here are three different scenarios; which one will result in better learning?

    • Scenario A: The teacher teaches all thirty words in one day’s lesson, having the class practice for a full hour (I will refrain from any discussions of methodology here–let’s just assume that she uses a solid approach and that the approach is the same for each scenario).

    • Scenario B: The teacher teaches the same thirty words each day across three days, but only has the students spend twenty minutes on the words each day, using the rest of class time to teach other material.

  • Scenario C: The teacher teaches the same words for the same amount of time in three lessons, with another day’s lesson in between–for example, twenty minutes on Monday, twenty minutes on Wednesday, and twenty minutes on Friday.

OK, which scenario will result in the greatest learning? Scenario C, without a doubt. Scenario B will result in the second most learning, and Scenario A will result in the least amount of learning. The superiority of “distributed” or “spaced practice” (Scenarios B and C) to “massed practice” (Scenario A) have been proven in research over and over again. In fact, this is one of the most robust findings in the cognitive science literature.

Why is this the case? Well, you should probably already know the two key reasons. One reason that spaced practice beats massed practice has to do with working memory limitations. In massed practice, it is easy to overwhelm working memory, leading to less efficient work with the material.

However, the key factor involved in the superiority of spaced practice to massed practice has to do with consolidation. Spacing the practice out over a period of time allows the brain time to consolidate each practice session during “down time,” and especially during sleep. Each time the student returns to the material, he will be strengthening the connections he has already started to build.

Break It Up and Focus on Variety

So, what does this all add up to? Well, obviously, the take-away here is to avoid massed practice sessions. If you are a math teacher, don’t teach one type of problem and then have your students do a gazillion problems of that type for the rest of the class period. That approach will not result in good retention.

Instead, teach two or three different problem types during the lesson, with shorter practice sessions on each problem type. Then cycle back to these different problem types after a day or two of delay, review them, and have students work on them again in short, focused practice sessions. By spacing out the practice sessions, you give your students’ brains time to consolidate each day’s learning and then reinforce it when they return to it.


This article is geared to parents who have children in special education. I have worked at the school district in San Diego for over 13 years. I happen to also be gifted with children, extremely intuitive, and a person who receives messages; an inner knowing.

Unfortunately everything in life has been geared about money. First, I don’t believe the district is as broke as it says but most importantly, parents need to be more involved with their children’s education. You are the advocates for your children so you have every right to make sure your child is being properly educated.

I have worked in all three grade levels; high school, middle school, and elementary school. More children are in need of special education yet the district cuts back on those services. What I have noticed is that the school district focuses more on high school as they want those children to graduate. Unfortunately, the children most needing help lie in the elementary schools where assistants have been drastically cut back. Most children are not noted to have any special needs until they enter into elementary school. Quite a few tests need be done in order for them to even qualify. Besides newly enrolled children needing services, the children already in special education are not being serviced due to lack of help. Teachers have 30 students in their classrooms, teach combo classes, and have children with reading or math issues with no help whatsoever. Numerous I.E.P.’s are out of compliance.

The public thinks that teachers have it easy and it is far from that. This whole problem stemmed from President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. This created a mess with all schools all over the United States. He created rules which required all schools to follow, including major amounts of testing. If children did not fare well on their tests then the school lost their funding. Jobs became eliminated. All of a sudden, special education is not important. Why is it that each person is an individual yet when it comes to schools all of a sudden children are all the same?

This created a domino affect among all schools. Problems were hidden and not taken care of so each school didn’t look bad. Their education became about teaching them how to take a test instead of learning. Most of the tests were way above their heads. Some too hard for me to pass. The joke around the school was President Bush most likely would fail those tests too. The rules were outrageous. One time a new student entered school on a test date. She was from another country and spoke no english, yet was required to take the test.. Of course she failed as she couldn’t read any English or speak the language.

Teachers are not allowed to teach children what they need because they have to follow all guide lines from the school district. The children become stressed because lessons are crammed into their heads in four days and then tested on day five. They are now teaching first graders about the legislation and algebraic concepts. Children are not cognitively ready to learn those subjects. High school science is being taught in fourth grade.

The school I just left had lost two special ed. assistants and didn’t replace them because they didn’t have enough money, yet more and more children were entering school with special needs and not getting any services.

It’s time to change the way schools do their business. Parents need to be aware of their children’s educational needs and advocate for them. If it was up to me, I would completely change the educational system as it’s antiquated and unrealistic with the changing times.


The concept of an after school program is gaining popularity worldwide. The simple reason behind the entire concept is the long-term benefits associated with it. If you feel that your child is talented and needs professional guidance to pursue a career in a special field, taking admission in any of these schools can benefit your child.

After school programs are a great way to cherish dreams of your children that may get restricted within the boundaries of the school, where the academic burden may overpower their natural talent. It is also a fact that a school teacher may not be a trained professional in a field of your child’s interest.

The benefits of enrolling your child into after school programs are

  • The enrichment programs offered by them are run under the guidance of trained people. In simple words, the instructors in these schools are not the jack of all trades but, master of one.
  • Children are offered complete liberty to practice their hobby for refinement.
  • The instructors are well versed with the intricacies of the art. They are the best guides for the children learning the art form under them.
  • They also assist children with their homework. So, if both the parents are working and don’t find much time to assist their children to help with homework, enrolling into any of these institutes is a best thing to do.

Undoubtedly, schools play an important role in shaping the future of any child, but after school programs play a major role in the growth of an individual in a special area. Their major focus is on overall development of the kids along with enhancing the special art that the child has been naturally bestowed by the almighty God.

The parents who enroll their children in these academies actually offer them a space to develop many good qualities in them. Today when media are dominant and youth is more exposed to the outside world through Television and the Internet, the social interests of today’s youth somehow get confined within the four walls of the house, where they can easily socialize and stay updated without stepping out of the home. This attitude in kids must not be encouraged and a good enrichment program can come as a rescue to most of the parents, who are worried about the mental, social as well as physical development of their children.

You can come across many after school programs in your area. There are many such institutions that are run to teach a special activity. You can find a training school for athletics, dance, music, martial arts, swimming, horse riding, skating, cooking and the list goes on. You just need to observe the interest of your kids and the related future prospects. The children learn several things in these academies that are important in the long run. Time management, patience, hard work and dedication are few of those qualities that are the main focus of these enrichment programs to help an individual reach the zenith of success.