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MumbaiSalesians' Clinical Psychologist Father [Dr.] Ajoy Fernandes' Teachers' Day Gift to 'Understand & Help Children with Learning Difficulties'


By BISMumbai Correspondent
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Mumbai, Sep. 5. Mumbai Salesians' Father [Dr.] Ajoy Fernandes who has a doctorate in Counselling Psychology with a major in Clinical Counselling and is Director Prafulta-Don Bosco Youth Counselling Services, Matunga-Mumbai, presents an online episodic video-series 'Understanding and Helping Children with Learning Difficulties'. The video-series starting today 05 September, and to be aired on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month, on the MumbaiSalesians' Youtube Channel, are broken up into short 10-minute interactive inputs describing the symptoms of learning and related difficulties; the formal and informal ways of assessing these difficulties; the types of beneficial interventions possible and the government-endorsed concessions across India. This is a Teachers' Day gift from the famed clinical psychologist, as an appreciation to teachers all over, who mould, nourish, nurture, inspire, motivate, enlighten and mentor students on a daily basis.
Children with learning disabilities have an 'invisible challenge'. The struggle to read, write and to perform simple arithmetic calculations are very real and their academic performance suffers. Misunderstood, labelled, and taunted, these children often develop emotional problems. Parents and teachers are left in a dilemma whether these children genuinely have a difficulty or they are just playing up! Early identification and remedial help can help these struggling children to surmount the obstacles and even outperform their peers.

Dr. Fernandes begins the 1st episode with 'an overview of learning difficulties', to be followed by elaborate explanations of each specific difficulty in later episodes. He says, ''on an average teachers have to deal with 40-60 students in a classroom environment. While most students seem to catch up with general classroom instruction, teachers very often find it impossible to get through to some of the students, despite all the effort. The teachers are aware that these students have some difficulty but are unable to figure out the exact nature of the students' difficulty.''

The idea for the online episodic video-series, mooted by MumbaiSalesians' Provincial Father Savio Silveira, is a follow up to the 2019 Don Bosco Research Centre [DBRC] publication 'Understanding and Helping Children with Learning Difficulties'. DBRC teacher-training workshops 'Learning Disabilities: Identification and Remediation' involved the participation of teachers from across some of the major cities of the length and breadth of India, who also provided valuable feedback and future considerations. Resource persons and subject-experts also played a pivotal role in the research-training study.

Dr. Fernandes believes, ''this will be very helpful for parents and teachers, to view and understand in a simple and easy to understand fashion: the various difficulties, its characteristics, impediments, learning disorders, language disorders, sensory integration, motor-auditory-visual processing and the clinical-psychoeducational assessment.''

The online episodic video-series, a year since the publication of the book, serves as an easily accessible resource to be aware and more proactively reach out to children experiencing such difficulties, reducing the intensity of their struggle and help them build a stable future. Dr Fernandes, however cautions, ''the videos are intended to be general guidelines only. For informed opinion, parents and teachers will need to consult professionally trained psychologists or special educators.''

Understanding & Helping Children with Learning Difficulties: Ep. 01-Overview of the Learning Difficulties

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