Learning Beyond Academics
Created by Benifer Updated on May 12, 2021
Our child was diagnosed with a learning disability and also as being on the autism spectrum. The initial years were tough for us as we were not able to find an inclusive school. We had changed the number of schools in our search for the correct environment. One major factor that tremendously worked in our favor was early intervention. We started on therapy immediately and followed it up at home on a regular and sustained basis. As his speech and language skills started showing adequate progress, we started focusing more on occupational and remedial therapy.
Importance of Learning Beyond Academics
Here are the benefits of learning beyond academics for our children. Read more now...
Building Social Skills
Like most autistic children, socializing was not his forte. We addressed this in multiple ways like:
Engaging him in group therapy sessions.
Inviting a couple of children home from our building to play with him.
Playing board games as a family ritual on Sundays. This taught him turn-taking and understanding the rules and following them.
Focus on Life Skills & Activities for Daily Living
As we always tried to work on different approaches and techniques to teach him new skills and level up the existing skills, it occurred to us that in order to instill confidence and make him independent we needed to empower him with life skills.
We also got him accustomed to staying at home alone for brief intervals so that he would understand that it was ok to be alone at times if we had to step out and there could be instances where he might be required to do so. He learned the basics like keeping the door shut, not opening it for unknown people and so on.
We started focussing a lot on ADL [ activities for a daily living]. As our son had an inclination towards drawing, he took drawing lessons. We gradually started sending him alone for his drawing classes, which was a good 20-minute walk from home. Over a period of time, he also started traveling independently by public conveyance. Initially, we accompanied him and read out every station or stop that we passed. Finally, on his first solo trip, we kept a track of him by talking to him over the phone constantly. [Don't Worry - Know About The Scientists With Learning Disabilities]
The Power of Empowerment
As parents, empowering made us happy but it was also coupled with anxiety. Gradually that reduced as we became surer of his abilities. At present, he keeps us updated by messaging us.
Another important aspect of traveling independently was the concept of money and handling currency which included buying the ticket, reading and interpreting the fare on the meter. It was a gradual process. We had to teach him how to correctly count and pay the displayed fare. One of the times, he also got conned by the auto driver who asked him for Rs.100 instead of Rs. 20 which was the actual fare. But this incident made him more aware and smarter as we discussed the ways to avoid being cheated.
Conversations about the world around and how people can behave and act differently also helped in building his awareness. We realized us that apart from our need to see him independent, it was his own determination and wish to be independent just like his peers.
Making Decisions that Were Tough But Right
We took a decision that academics will take a backseat and we just concentrated on increasing his self-esteem, making him independent in traveling, increasing his group activities, etc. Only then we took a decision to appear for the NIOS board. Once the pressure of studies was off, he bloomed. His creativity in arts came to the fore. He even gave a speech on his school’s Annual Day. The next year, he compered the show for them as well. He has shown an inclination towards drama too.
At present, our son has completed his 12th boards and, is studying in the second year of ‘Applied Arts’ from Mumbai University. We have received a lot of support at college and that has been very helpful in encouraging him in his endeavor.
Although he needs a little support in completing his day to day assignments, he is pretty independent and travels on his own by train to college. He also got an opportunity to intern with an advertising firm. This was a great morale booster and confidence-building experience for him. It also helped him work on the nuances of social interactions.
Our long-term goal is to see him financially independent and do what makes him happy. We are glad that focusing on the right skill sets have helped him reach this level of empowerment and fulfillment and are proud of his achievements. Happy Parenting!
| Oct 02, 2019
Yes, learning beyond academics is very much necessary. Children often do not know how to mingle with the world. Read this Navratri and Dussehra special blog writeup: https://urdailyhacks.blogspot.com/2019/09/when-is-navratri-2019-know-all-about.html - to teach children about religion in a simple form Hope it helps!!!