Saturday, September 5, 2009

Teaching children with disabilities can be a rewarding experience.

Researchers have found that the mentally impaired learn by a process that is much different from that of a person who is not disabled. Normally developing people learn by reacting to their environment. They learn through sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell. In the mentally impaired, brain damage makes them unable to do this.

Along with a dull sensory perception, these children have limited use of logic and reasoning. When there is not logic, reasoning, or thought building process involved they will probably do very well.

Another adjustment will be the language that the teacher uses. They must be very conscious of what they are saying. The intellectually impaired students learning abilities will depend on how much of what is being said is understood.

A mentally handicapped child should not be expected to wait with their questions. Their learning must be immediate and spontaneous. A disabled child must practice even minor tasks before they can do them well. Teachers should let them distribute papers, supplies, and books. They should then reward students who have completed the tasks given to them. Nothing should go unrecognized.

The success of teaching the intellectually impaired is totally reliant on the ability of the teacher. The teacher must have patience and respect for human need, plus a love for the student who is "different."

Story telling is one of the worlds oldest forms of expression. Most mentally handicapped children love to hear stories. They help to bring alive their imaginations. Stories will help to mold ideas.

Whatever a teacher tells the trainable child, he/she will accept as true. The child cannot determine between what is real and what is a story.

Those who are teaching the intellectually impaired should use a great deal of visual aids which XO laptop did in the School for the Handicapped HLA Compound, Ibadan, Nigeria. Talking alone will not give a clear picture to the mentally handicapped. Children can cut figures from magazines to make their own visual stories.

The teacher needs to pick the crafts for the intellectually impaired very carefully. Each one should serve a purpose. Each one should be reinforcement to the lesson that is being taught.

Twenty years ago there were virtually no classes for the intellectually impaired. Today, educators recognize this a long needed thing and are opening their arms and their hearts to these children. It is an open door that will change lives forever. Parents and families of the mentally impaired will be forever strengthened just knowing that One Laptop Per Child Association US cares for their children.


  1. Alake,

    I really like your description of what its like to work with special needs children. Over at OLPC News, we have a soft spot for those who take time to bring the XO to _all_ children.

    Might we republish this entry as a Guest Post by you, linking back to this page?

  2. Waow,Making the disables realize their skills will contribute lot to technology..thumbs up..what a good idea