Department of Special Education
APL believes that it is crucial to understand that all children learn and grow differently. The school aims to provide learning environments that are both self-paced and process-oriented.
The school creates an environment that allows for personalised learning experiences that extends to all members of the school irrespective of age, abilities and backgrounds. The idea behind personalized education is to keep in mind every individual’s capabilities while nurturing the same within a larger community, providing life-enriching skills. With the help of an access-friendly campus, the school aims at participation of the whole school citizenry in various school activities, to foster a sense of oneness.
Special educators, teachers, occupational therapists and counselors provide a support system that compliments each other’s skill sets and help in translating ideas into an action plan. Individual sessions, small group sessions, shadow teaching, and advanced studies in specific subjects are some ways in which services are extended. All staff members work towards a process whereby students become self-motivated, process- oriented individuals who are getting ready to face the challenges of work, life and citizenship in a global society.
In the pipeline and still in its nascent stages, the Gifted and Talented program would allow students to take up projects or work on a higher grade level curriculum depending on their areas of interest and their long term goals.
Special Education Team at APL
Special Educators: The role of special educators is to use tools to differentiate the learning environment, goals and/or instruction. Special educators may work with any child at any given point in time. They identify goals that could be either short or long term in nature.
Special Education Coordinators: Each student, following an individualized support plan, will be assigned to a special education coordinator. They help in planning and coordinating between stakeholders to arrive at an individualized plan.
Occupational Therapists: The primary role of occupational therapists is to assist and engage students in occupations that are purposeful, significant, and important to them, enabling them to participate in daily life activities, as a basis for their health, well being, safety, and quality of life. This includes activities of daily living, education, pre-vocational activities, play, leisure, and social participation.
Support Staff: Support staff are assigned to students with physical needs, high-sensory, or behavioral needs. They support students in helping with daily living skills, transition between classes, and/or mobility within the school campus.
Meraki – Centre for Creative Expressions: Meraki or the Centre for Creative Expressions offers programmes made for the ‘creator’ in every child and not just the ‘artistically exceptional.’ It integrates visual arts, music and movement as essential forms of language and expression that are not restricted to verbal and written language.
Special Needs Support Program
Kindergarten level: At the Kindergarten level, the special educator works as a co-mentor. The co-mentor and the mentor work on lesson plan to enable differentiation in the classroom. Focus groups are run targeting specific developmental areas. The Occupational Therapists work closely with Special–Education Coordinators in coming up with individualised plans for students.
Primary and lower secondary level: Students from Grades 1 to 8 who require specific support and based on their readiness levels, move between development paths. In addition, students will have individualised plans for areas like- occupational therapy, creative expressions, games etc. These are offered to students who would benefit from working in small groups/individual goals in these areas. Special Educators, Special Education Coordinators, Occupational Therapists and General Ed teachers, in consultation with the student and the parent, arrive at a personalised plan for the student.
Students follow the respective grade curriculum but require short-term support that focuses on skills beyond the scope of the curriculum; these skills will include spelling, sentence expansion, perception-based skills, etc. Students will work on specific skills with a skill enrichment teacher in clusters once or twice a week.
Students follow the respective grade curriculum with some support in the content. Students attend mainstream classes with extended hand-holding sessions run by special educators in small groups to consolidate learning, where the content is paced based on the group.
The curriculum will be designed based on the readiness of the student. They may follow a curriculum lower than the grade level they belong to, for one or more subjects. The sessions will be conducted in small groups with a special educator and will not require them to be in the mainstream class.
The ‘Kamalam Program’ is specifically designed for students who are following the functional curriculum. The program plan will be based on functional academics and independent living skills. The curriculum will be tailor-made based on the readiness, and will not be as per grade-level curriculum. Students on this curriculum will be part of the whole group-class for some co-curricular activities, depending on their strengths and interests. Classes under the functional curriculum are conducted in small groups by special educators.
Click here to know more about the Kamalam program.
Senior level: At the Senior School level, the two curriculums – IGCSE and NIOS prepare students to take on further challenges as adolescents and young adults. The support offered at this level ranges from remedial interventions, study skills, and assessments to understand the personalisation required in exam arrangements, for the student to be able to receive recognition for their attainment. Exam arrangements include the use of a scribe, Word Processor or extra time. The purpose is to remove any barriers to the standard assessment, without compromising the standards being tested.